Absa and Qhubeka give people a hand up to better their lives

Absa is set to host a unique auction of mainly sculptural artworks in conjunction with leading fine art auctioneers and art consultants Strauss & Co to raise funds for the global bicycle charity, Qhubeka.

The Qhubeka Art Auction forms part of Absa’s ongoing efforts to support communities and improve education outcomes and will take place between 18 and 25 October. It will be held concurrently with this year’s Absa Cape Epic, one of the toughest and most beautiful mountain bike stage races in the world.

The 2021 edition of the race will see avid mountain bikers from around the globe cover 619 kilometres and 15 250 metres of vertical ascent from the iconic slopes of Table Mountain National Park to the luxury of Val de Vie Estate outside Paarl.

The proceeds of the auction will go toward supporting Qhubeka Charity, an organisation that distributes bicycles to change lives. Qhubeka is a Nguni word meaning ‘to carry on’, ‘to progress’, or ‘to move forward’, and is fittingly an official charity partner of the Absa Cape Epic.

A recent Statistics SA General Household Survey, which measures the living circumstances of South African households, estimates that around 67% of South Africa’s school-going children have no access to any means of transport. When driving on secondary roads around South Africa, one sees many uniformed children walking more than 30km per day to get to and from school. As an accessible, reliable and affordable form of personal transport, owning a bicycle can make a profound difference in under-resourced communities.

Bicycles can change lives, and Qhubeka Charity uses bicycles to raise standards of living by improving access to schools, clinics and jobs. The hand, which features as symbol on the Qhubeka Charity logo, illustrates that bicycle beneficiaries are receiving a hand up in their lives, and not a handout. To date, through the Absa sponsorship, a total of 900 bicycles have been donated to grade 10, 11 and 12 learners across schools in South Africa.

The online Qhubeka Art Auction, which was scheduled to take place in 2020 but was postponed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, will be hosted by Strauss & Co. Once registered, online bidders will receive a bidder number and will be able to place bids on the lots between 18 and 25 October.

“We are really looking forward to hosting this auction. It has been a tough couple of months for the arts community as well as society at large, and to get an opportunity to host an auction where the proceeds will directly impact and benefit communities, is a privilege we don’t take for granted,”

says Strauss & Co Executive Director, Susie Goodman.

A total of 25 lots will be on show during the auction and will include 21 artworks from a selection of artists from across Africa, as well as three specially designed Qhubeka bicycles and one special reserve 2021 Absa Top Ten Pinotage wine case.

A highlight of the auction will undoubtedly be the three Qhubeka bicycles, transformed into artworks for the auction by 2019 Absa L’Atelier Ambassador Nkhensani Rihlampfu, as well as renowned sculptors Angus Taylor and Izanne Wiid.

Rihlampfu, whose distinct work using cotton rope is entitled ‘Concept of Tenacity’, explains that it is an expression of the moment when people are in their element.

“It is that moment when mind, body and soul are aligned, and your imagination is your own limit. I thoroughly enjoyed the brief, it’s a unique way to merge sport and art and I am happy it will benefit those who need it the most.”

Absa Senior Specialist Art Curator, Dr Paul Bayliss, says the bank is committed to making a meaningful contribution to the communities where they operate.

“The visual arts afford us the opportunity to play a shaping role in society and this initiative is a great example of how we are increasingly leveraging our ecosystem to ensure that we unlock opportunities for communities.”

“The auction is a truly unique collaboration as it unites art and sport, thereby enabling Qhubeka Charity to address socioeconomic challenges at the most basic level – helping people to get where they need to go,”

he says.

Bayliss further explains that the Qhubeka Art session in the auction will be viewable on the Strauss & Co website from Saturday, 16 October and opens for bidding from Monday, 18 October 2021.

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