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Dr Thulani Vilakazi – A virtual event for the Dundee July

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

The annual glitz and glamour event, the Dundee July rural horse race, was a virtual event held on Saturday 14 August. This popular event was established in 2005 by the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation for the purpose of rural, social and skills development for people who are from previously disadvantaged communities.

MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation in KwaZulu-Natal, Hlengiwe Mavimbela described the 2021 Dundee July as highly successful despite the event being hosted without spectators due to Covid-19 regulations. The event was postponed in July as the country was placed under Lockdown Level 4 regulations due to high numbers of Covid-19 infections.

“I wish to thank the horse owners and jockeys for their understanding and cooperation in making this event a success. We only had 104 horses for this year, instead of the over 400 that we normally have. This was done to ensure that we comply with the Covid-19 regulations,” she said.

MEC Mavimbela added that she was highly impressed by the standard of competition among the horses in each of the nine races that took place. “All races were of high standard. But I want to highlight two races, one being the Ladies Race that was named after Mama Charlotte Maxeke, which was won by Londi Nxumalo from Umgungundlovu, and the main race that was won by an outsider, Troublemaker from Amajuba District, with Lungani Gamede as the jockey. The horse surprised many people because no one expected Troublemaker to emerge as winner in this race.”

The community of Umzinyathi District were applauded for respecting the request for them not to attend the event, and instead follow it on different media platforms. “That is why we partnered with SABC Sport, Ukhozi FM, 1KZN TV and community radio stations to bring the race into people’s homes,” said MEC Mavimbela. The Dundee July has previously attracted over 20 000 spectators from all over KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries, Botswana and Lesotho. Consequently, this traditional tourism money-spinner event contributed R15m to the local economy and created over 3000 temporary jobs.

Ithala SOC Limited, a 100% owned subsidiary of Ithala Development Finance Corporation – KZN’s provincial development agency – is sponsor of the flagship event. Dr Thulani Vilakazi, CEO of Ithala SOC Limited, said over the past five years Ithala has partnered with the Department of Sport and Recreation, thus making lthala the official banking partner for the Dundee July.

In 2019, Ithala expanded its involvement in the Dundee July into fashion with a programme known as ‘The Legacy Programme’ which focuses on creating sustainable rural development that goes beyond initial contact between beneficiaries and benefactors. This has ensured that rural outreach, development, and empowerment initiatives are impactful and sustainable over a long enough time to make a lasting impact on communities.

Ithala’s mandate is to serve ordinary South Africans and help them to manage their money and create wealth. “This event which attracts a large following provides an ideal platform in which to bring affordable and convenient financial services closer to the people of KZN. As a pioneer champion in banking the unbanked in KZN, transactional accounts will be opened for participants to safely deposit their participation fees and winnings thus growing our transactional account base,” concluded Dr Vilakazi.


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