Visionary’s legacy lives on

Visionary’s legacy lives on

In an extraordinary tribute to the vision of Royal St Andrew’s Hotel founder, Martin Bekker, his family recently announced a R400000 sponsorship for the Royal St Andrew’s Hotel Amanzi Challenge.

LEGACY LIVES: The Bekker family recently announced the Royal St Andrew’s Hotel’s R400000 sponsorship of the Royal St Andrew’s Hotel Amanzi Challenge later this year. (From left) RSAH General Manager Difford Louw, hotel owner Linda Bekker, BS Sports Managing Director Zwelinzima ‘Sxeaks’ Nkwinti and Justin Bekker. Organised by BS Sport, partners for the water sport event include Sunshine Coast Tourism, Ndlambe Municipality’s Local Economic Development directorate and the Port Alfred Business Forum. Picture: TK MTIKI

The event, founded in 2017, will take place on 8-13 November 2022. Featuring all professional water and beach sports federations, the event brings top national and international water sport professionals to Port Alfred over five-plus days.

BS Sports Managing Director, Zwelinzima ‘Sxeaks’ Nkwinti said confirmed were inflatable boat (‘rubber duck’) racing, body boarding and the Kowie Mile Swim, with the World Surf League yet to confirm their commitment.

This will be the first Amanzi Challenge since Martin passed away last year and owners Linda Bekker and son, Justin, told stakeholders gathered at the Royal St Andrews Hotel on Monday they intend to ensure the legacy of his vision lives. Chaired by BS Sport’s Zwelinzima Nkwinti, event partners present included the hotel management, Sunshine Coast Tourism, Qhawe Mapapu and  Godukile Mbolekwa from Ndlambe Municipality’s Local Economic Directorate and Port Alfred Business Forum Chairperson Clinton Millard.

“We need to keep this event going. We need to help and uplift the town of Port Alfred,” Justin Bekker said as he made the announcement. “Port Alfred is the fastest growing town in South Africa and events like this are part of it. The support of government and the municipality is pivotal in this instance.

“When people come down to Port Alfred for an event of this magnitude, they end up seeing it as a town they can move to,” he said.

Port Alfred’s beaches were the main attraction for tourists, he said, and when fibre based internet is fully operational, the town will become very attractive to people working remotely for national and international entities.

Linda Bekker said, “We are just privileged to be able to continue with the sponsorship but at the same time we are very hopeful that others will come on board and share the responsibility.”

Nkwinti spoke fondly of the Bekker family’s continued support for the event, and the town.

“We want to continue with Martin Bekker’s legacy,” Nkwinti said. “Fortunately his family wants to make sure that his dream for Port Alfred is still happening.”

Nkwinti further revealed that plans to honour Martin Bekker were under way, including naming one of the main events at the Royal St Andrew’s Hotel Amanzi Challenge after him.

Nkwinti further confirmed the annual event, previously held in April, would take place in November for the foreseeable future.

Ndlambe LED Manager, Qawe Mampane, praised the Bekker family’s continued commitment to the event and the town.

“To the Bekker family, thank you for supporting a dream that came to realisation,” she said. “Your involvement in the event brings a lot of visitors to the area. It brings a national and international footprint of people who are champions of these sporting codes, and others who might not otherwise have not come to this area,” she said.

Mampane asked the organisers that the benefits be enjoyed by all parts of Ndlambe, including Bathurst, Kenton-On-Sea and Alexandria.

She said the municipality would put its house in order by improving infrastructure in order to provide a great experience for visitors.

Nkwinti said in addition to the sponsors and partners mentioned, Sarah Baartman District Municipality, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency and the Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation Arts and Culture also played a role in the event.

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