SOUTH Africa-based Zimbabwean business mogul Joseph Busha hopes to capitalise on athletics’ mass appeal on the continent to promote peace and unity through the JM Busha 54 Races.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The JM Busha 54 Races National Peace Pledge Marathon, which has been slated for May 25, was launched in Harare last week, with the organisers unveiling a four-year partnership with the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe worth around $300 000 annually.
This year’s competition will include the 42km main race, the half marathon and the 10km open race ahead of another long distance race in July, as well as track and field competition later this year.
Another JM Busha 54 Races National Peace Pledge Marathon is also scheduled for South Africa two days later in line with Busha’s vision to see the race being hosted simultaneously in all 54 African countries on Africa Day starting next year.
Busha, the founder and managing director of JM Busha Investment Group, which has subsidiary companies in Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, said he was hopeful that the JM Busha 54 Races would be used as a vehicle to spread the message of peace, stability, harmony and unity among people and nations.
“This is about engagement, public participation and taking ownership of peace and saying, ‘I’m for peace’, that is the message we are taking,” Busha told Standardsport in an interview last week.
“The May 25 race in Harare is our first edition really, while in South Africa they will have one on May 27 since they don’t recognise Africa Day. However, by next year we hope all the 54 African countries will run the JM Busha 54 Races marathons on Africa Day and speak the same language of peace and unity,” he added.
“The winners from those countries will come to Zimbabwe and compete in the July 1 [the Elite JM Busha 54 Races marathon] which we hope will form part of their preparations for
the world’s top races, such as the New York, Boston, London and Berlin Marathons.”
The JM Busha is a non-profit organisation involved in social investment programmes aimed at promoting sport, education, peace, stability, harmony and unity among people and nations.