Advocacy Initiative To Help Bring An End To Gender Based Violence Around The World
Johannesburg, South Africa — February 4, 2022 — The first all black African race team consisting of Xolile Letlaka, Tschops Sipuka and Philip Kekana, who will make history this weekend in the Joburg Kyalami 9 Hour competing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli, driving the Into Africa Mining Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, has become the newest sporting advocates to support the global ARDN Red Card Campaign to help bring awareness to end violence and discrimination against young women and girls worldwide.
The ARDN Red Card Campaign was inspired after the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but launched at the United Nations New York Headquarters in March of 2020 by the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN), a non-profit organization which promotes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The objectives are to support the unity of African Nations and all people of African descent globally.
The ARDN Red Card Campaign advocacy initiative, which will conclude at the end of the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar this coming November, aspires to secure 1,000,000 media impressions that includes a virtual signing of a web based pledge (redcardpledge.com), the sharing of pictures and/or video holding a “red card” placard as a communal gesture of support to end gender based violence, as well as using the hashtag #redcardpledge within social media outlets.
“In 2000, former South African President Nelson Mandela stated at the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards that sport has the power to change the world, it has the power to inspire and the power to unite people in a way little else does.”, said ARDN CEO Dr. Djibril Diallo.
“Utilizing our consortium of partners, ARDN formalizes activations to involve art, sport and culture as advocacy mechanisms. In May of 2014, in partnership with FIFA during the World Cup in Brazil, we endorsed a motorsport advocacy initiative to support the UNAIDS “Protect The Goal” campaign, that launched at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
“For ARDN to have an opportunity to promote the ARDN Red Card Campaign initiative, in connection with the Kyalami 9 Hour, on the heels of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa signing laws to strengthen the fight against gender based violence, during the opening weekend of the Beijing Winter Olympics, as well as the first weekend of Black History Month, as observed in the United States, with these South African racing champions, epitomizes what is possible through sporting advocacy.”, continued Dr. Diallo.
Famed Hollywood actor, director and producer Richard Gant, ARDN’s Chairperson for Art, Sport and Culture, shared these thoughts.
“What these three men will accomplish on the race track this weekend, during the Kyalami 9 Hour, will be historic, no two ways about that. They will run the race, finish where they finish, and go on to the next.”, commented Gant.
“However for these three men to be selfless, with this historic endeavor, and ensure their accomplishment had further purpose, by supporting the ARDN Red Card Campaign campaign, far and away exceeds whatever accolades they would have received from their time out on the race track — and for me, that makes them heroes for us all.”
Xolile Letlaka, owner of the team and an accomplished racer, became the first person of color to win a round in the South African Endurance Series in 2020, and in 2021 he and Sipuka had two victories and a second place finish out of four starts.
“As I have said before, competing in the Kyalami 9 Hour will be one of the proudest moments of my life, standing on the grid, next to my teammates, as we embark on this historic journey — and to now have this opportunity of supporting the ARDN Red Card Campaign campaign, to bring awareness to the abolishment of violence and discrimination against young women and girls, truly speaks to my motto ‘we lift as we rise’. It is an honor to be a part of this campaign, and our support will not stop once the race is over. This is just the beginning.”
Tschops Sipuka, a two-time Polo Cup champion, has participated in many different disciplines of motorsports, including a test session in America’s INDYCAR Indy Lights championship.
“I have known Chris [Miles] for a very long time, we correspond regularly, and he is a character if you are unfamiliar.”, laughed Sipuka.
“Nevertheless, I called him up a while back, when this event was originally scheduled for December, to share the news of our historic endeavor, and I stated ‘if our program could help bring awareness to anything he may be doing in the States to let me know.’”
“He said ‘Tschops this is fantastic news and yes, I absolutely have something for you.’”, exclaimed Sipuka.
“He [Chris] goes on to share information regarding the ARDN Red Card Campaign campaign, the purpose behind the campaign, additional supporters of the campaign, and I knew straight away, with all of us having daughters of our own, this was something we would all be honored to be a part of.”
Chris Miles, ARDN’s Global Motorsport Marketing Advisor, Diversity & Inclusion Strategist and founder of Starting Grid, Inc. is the co-organizer of this activation taking place in connection with the Joburg Kyalami 9 Hour.
“As Dr. Diallo stated earlier, in May of 2014, through a partnership with the FIFA World Cup, ARDN had the pleasure of debuting the UNAIDS “Protect The Goal” ZERO race car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with African American driver Chase Austin.”, said Miles.
“Then in August of that year, Zimbabwean racing champion Axcil Jefferies, piloted the ZERO car to a fourth place finish, in the Indy Lights race, during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.”
“For ARDN to have another opportunity to utilize the two most influential sports (soccer and motorsports), as sporting advocacies, in another calendar year of the FIFA World Cup being the backdrop for amplifying this very necessary campaign, is a true blessing.”, continued Miles.
Philip Kekana, a rally champion and elder statesman of the racing trio, will co-pilot the Into Africa Mining Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
“On behalf of the entire team, I wish to thank ARDN for this amazing opportunity.”, stated Kekana.
“To echo Tschops’ sentiment, we are all fathers and we know the measures we have taken to protect our daughters from harm. It gives me great pleasure to be a voice for the voiceless, through the ARDN Red Card Campaign and I hope many others this weekend, and race weekends to come, will follow our lead to help bring an end to gender based violence here in South Africa and around the world.”