These are some of SA's biggest mass-participation events

Business Insider SA
  • The MTN Walk the Talk with 702 takes place this Sunday.
  • It is one of many mass-participation events that aims to bring South Africans together.

Currently in its 17th year, the MTN Walk the Talk with 702, will take place Sunday and is set to bring together Joburgers from all walks of life in celebration of unity.

"Walkers will find themselves walking and having conversations with people who they usually would never meet in their daily lives," says Alexia Poulos, Primedia's group event manager. "As the name suggests, the talking is just as important as the activity."

The walk, which started with 2,500 participants walking from the Wanderers Stadium, now attracts over 50,000 people. It now starts at the Mark Park Sports Club in Emmarentia, Johannesburg.

"These type of events show that South Africans can rally around a common good," says Devan Pillay, Associate Professor at the Wits School of Social Sciences.

"Everything helps and as such are good expressions of the possibility of a future rainbow society," he says. But it is not, necessarily, enough.

"We need to deal with the real problems first, because, until then such events (despite their good intent) are plasters on the problem," he says.

Some of the country's biggest mass-participation events include:

Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge

Photo: @947Cycle

The 94km cycle challenge, currently in its 22nd year, attracts over 30,000 cyclists to ride through Johannesburg. This is the second largest cycle challenge in the country, after the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

Cape Town Cycle Tour

The tour suffered a set back in 2017 as it had to be cancelled due strong winds. It attracts over 35,000 cyclists from around the world.

Started in 1978, riders cycle 109km around the Mother City.

The Comrades Marathon

2018 Comrades Marathon winner Ann Ashworth has turned down the chance to represent South Africa at the 100km World Championships in Croatia in September.

The Comrades was started by World War I veteran, Vic Clapham in 1921, in commemoration of the soldiers who died during the war.

Back to the City Festival.

Photo: Facebook

Currently in its 12th year, the Back to the City festival attracts over 20,000 people.

It features both commercial and underground hip hop artists, street art, fashion and discussion panels. The festival takes place the Mary Fitzgerald Square in New Town, Johannesburg.

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon


The 56km ultramarathon (and 21 half-marathon) takes place annually during the Easter Weekend in Cape Town. The race starts in Newlands and ends at the University of Cape Town.

The event attracts over 26,000 participants in both the half- and ultra-marathon as well as the fun-runs.

The Cape Town Big Walk

Rooms for Africa

The oldest mass-participation event in the country, the first Big Walk was held in 1903. 

The walk attracts up to 30,000 participants and participants can choose from 10 distances,  starting from 5km to 80km. 

Blisters for Bread.

First organised in 1968, the walk is in aid of the Peninsula School Feeding Association, which provides food to 300,000 children. 

This year's walk is set to take place on August 26 and will start from the Green Point Cricket Club.

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