Celebrating its 9th birthday in 2024, Seven7 Drive, an initiative that delivers hope and supplies to kids with cancer while simultaneously raising awareness about the benefits of early detection, is now primed to make a far greater and tangible difference in even more children’s lives.

Now registered as a non-profit organisation with a new board of directors, the ‘new’ Seven7 Drive will again host the traditional ‘Drive’ in September 2024, but with some notable changes to the structure. This year, seven car companies and new sponsors will join the event to expand the footprint and awareness of the campaign to much greater levels than before.

The annual music concerts will also continue, with the proceeds from a music concert scheduled for 22 September also going directly towards the kids. Several stand-alone events, custom corporate outings and even specialist overland adventures are also on the cards.

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Expert focus for maximum impact

To align with the Seven7 Drive’s renewed focus, the board of directors purposefully include specialists in their respective fields, all sharing the common goal to assist kids with cancer in any which way possible.

As of this year, the Seven7 Drive board consists of Ziphora Masethe, IgnitionTV presenter and producer; Christo Valentyn, former journalist and current head of marketing for Kia South Africa; Khulekani Dumisa, director of Khulekani on Wheels and KoW Marketing; and Danie Botha, director of BoBo Productions, a company that specialises in television productions and adventure events, and original co-founder of the Seven7 Drive.

Masethe will run all creative elements and will present the television special that will be produced on the actual Drive in September, while Valentyn will handle marketing, Dumisa will be responsible for corporate affairs, and Botha will drive the overall project.

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More opportunities more often

Ushering in this new dawn was a quick excursion to Polokwane in Limpopo, where the Seven7 Drive team picked up six cancer kids and their moms and transported them from the Polokwane Hospital to Adventures with Elephants near Bela-Bela. The event was hosted by the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa). At the venue the kids got to interact with the amazing gentle giants – an experience they won’t forget in a hurry.

The Seven7 Drive team used three vehicles to transport the kids and their moms: a Kia Sportage 1.6 CRDi EX, a GWM Tank 300 HEV hybrid and a Toyota Hilux 2.4GD6 RaiderX 4x4.

“Kia South Africa have been our partner since Day one,” says Seven7 Drive founding member Danie Botha. “Late in 2023 we reached a crossroads, along with our colleagues at Kia: after eight years, we no longer just wanted to idle along, offering limited assistance. Instead we wanted to go much bigger, opening the door for all car companies to join Kia in this venture, reaching more kids – and making a much bigger impact. So the new non-profit was born.”

Building the legacy

It all started in 2015 as a mad cap idea: Drive more than 7 000km in seven days, taking in seven countries along the way. And deliver gifts of hope to kids with cancer at hospitals in those seven countries.

“We had a route set out on a map,” says Botha. “Kia provided us with a front-wheel drive Kia Sorento 2.4 LS, which we kitted out with accessory partners, adding a nudge bar with Lightforce spotlights, a Weca roof-rack and Bridgestone all-terrain tyres. Wrap Vehicles SA designed and applied a cool vinyl wrap, and off we went…”

The first day took the three-man team and heavily-laden Kia Sorento from Steve Biko Hospital in Tshwane to Windhoek, Namibia – a 1 800km drive.

“We had some ambitious targets,” explains Botha. “We decided to not use the same road more than once, so that first leg included a substantial detour to avoid the obvious, shortest route, which we would use on Day two to reach Botswana. Our budget was very limited, so the plan was to camp along the route. But arriving at a campsite at 10pm, pitching camp, fixing some dinner, then striking camp at 3am – that was not so much fun.”

The team carried on regardless, and took in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, eSwatini, Lesotho and South Africa. Along the way they visited seven hospitals and delivered gifts and supplies to kids with cancer. The mission was achieved, the Sorento never missing a beat, despite some challenging terrain and conditions along the way.

In 2016 a two-man team completed the same route, this time using a Kia Sportage 2.4 AWD featuring several upgrades. The team faced many challenges, including fatigue, overzealous officials and extreme road and traffic conditions. In 2017 the route was altered to still include seven hospitals, but the team visited only four countries.

In time, as journalists joined the expeditions and the convoy grew in numbers, it became clear that an exclusively South African route would not only be more realistic, but also more impactful. And that’s how Seven7 has been running for the past four years: seven cities and hospitals in South Africa, in seven days.

Funds raised over the years were donated to non-profit organisations such as Cupcakes of Hope for kids with cancer (www.cupcakesofhope.org), who financially assist kids with cancer and their families.

“With the combined expertise of the new board, and support from the South African motoring industry, Seven7 Drive will be able to help more kids, more regularly,” concludes Botha.


More information:

Seven7 Drive – drive for kids with cancer

Registration # 2023/135831/08


Tel. 084 207-4456 / wildinsa@mweb.co.za

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