Long walk to raising funds for sanitary towels raised awareness

Ndaba's also managed to attract support for water tanks for rural schools

27 June 2023 - 15:53
By Patience Bambalele

It took Sindiswa Ndaba 28 days to walk 720km from Johannesburg using back routes to Durban at average pace of 25km per day to finally reach home, all in the name of raising funds and awareness about the importance of sanitary towels for girls. 

The 23-year-old reached Durban on Sunday after she left Joburg’s Mandela Bridge on May 28. Her journey has managed to raise substantial amount of money to buy sanitary pads for schoolgirls who can’t afford them. Through the walk, she has managed to identify potential partners to expand on the Walk of Dignity campaign. 

Ndaba’s walk took her through different towns in Gauteng and KZN where she slept at pre-booked places of accommodation after completing each day.

To achieve her goal, Ndaba, walked on average 30km a day with her sister Lindokuhle accompanying her in the car monitoring her movements. At home, her sister-in-law Tholithemba Khoza, was managing Ndaba’s social media pages to promote the campaign and organised media interview for her husband’s sibling.  

Though the journey was difficult and taxing to her body, Ndaba said the thought of quitting never crossed her mind because of the importance of finishing it. She also admitted to getting lost several times as she was leaving the City of Gold and navigating its back routes.

“The whole experience was overwhelming. But I feel honoured to have done it and the little sponsorship and partnerships we got. It was not comfortable at all. The support from my family kept me going. Some days I felt like quitting but I remembered why I was doing the walk. I’d do it again until I achieve the goal, reaching R1,4m,” she said.

Ndaba is also a student who is studying a private pilot licence through Pietermaritzburg Aero Club. 

“When I left Johannesburg, I headed to Boksburg and by the time I reached the city I had done 30km. Because we had a partnership with accommodation places, I was able to sleep in comfortable places. I slept in Germiston. The next morning my sister took me back to the spot  where I had reached my first 30km. I started there and the next town was Heidelberg. I would walk 10km and take a break to eat a lot of protein that includes peanut butter sandwiches and energy drinks.”

When she finally arrived in Durban on Sunday, friends, family and the community members were waiting for her at the uShaka Marine World.

Speaking to Sowetan two days after completing the walk, Ndaba said she was still in good shape even though her legs still ached. 

Asked why she chose to take on a hard mission, Ndaba said: “Firstly, I grew up around people who are giving. My father was a school principal in Howick and he assisted the school using his own money while my mother supports a lot of homes around the area. So, through my foundation, Kambambeni Foundation, I decided to take on this mission because I realised that some village schools lack important facilities. Kids spend five days at school but you'd find that there is no proper running water and toilets.” 

She said the walk was to also raise funds for water storage tanks for schools to harvest and store rainwater.

Ndaba believes that the walk was impactful because of the people who responded to the campaign and the ones who interacted with her.

“We could not reach our goal which is raising R1.4m but the response was great which means the purpose of bringing awareness was achieved. There are municipalities that have confirmed that they will donate four [water] tanks. I am still in talks with a company that makes reusable sanitary pads to sell them at a cheaper price to me.” 

Ndaba took two months to prepare for her long walk, running 5km daily and walking about 40km on weekends.