Physio 4 Africa - Smurf Fun Run

Dr. Petro van der Merwe

Physio 4 Africa, Wellington proudly hosted their first annual Smurf Fun Run on the 26 March, the foundation date of Wellington in 1840. Councillor Aiden Stowman rang the Wellington Museum’s reception bell and a new 5 km fun run among the beauty Vineyards of Diemersfontein Wine Estate was born.

Dr Petro van der Merwe, Physiotherapist was awarded the Smurf Trademark by Veronique Culliford the daughter of Pierre Culliford, nicknamed Peyo, due to her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree at Northeastern University, Massachusetts, United States and post-doctorate project Physio 4 Africa in September 2015. Mrs Culliford and Smurf IMPS especially was impressed by Dr van der Merwe’s community service outreach work and the opportunity to create awareness for health and wellbeing via sport participation. Smurf IMPS agreed to this project by also uplifting one of their factories via social responsibility. Sport Smurf figurines were bought from one of their Belgium factories, which participants received at the end of the race instead of medals.

The Smurfs are more than just a cartoon. Mrs Culliford negotiated intellectual property of the Smurf Trademark when the Smurfs hit the big screen in the United States. Since then Smurf has kept a tight grip on how the Smurf Trademark is used and what it represent. The heirs to the Smurf rights wants the characters to remain true to the image created in 1958 by their father, the late Belgian cartoonist, Pierre “Peyo” Culliford. The Smurf economy system according to Wikipedia, fitted Wellington like a glove.

The Smurfs' community generally takes the form of a cooperative, sharing, and kind environment based on the principle that each Smurf has something he or she is good at, and thus contributes it to Smurf society as he or she can. In return, each Smurf appears to be given their necessities of life, from housing and clothes to food without using any money in exchange. Build on the heritage of Andrew Murray’s legacy of ministry and community service work, Wellington has more than thirty non-profit (NPO) organisations, which is similar to a smurf community. These NPOs currently provide pro bono services ranging from food services to the homeless (G Project), under privilege children (Wellington Mammas and Helpende Hand), adoption, housing and social upliftment of children (HAM, NORSA and ADAMA), social upliftment of the elderly (Lions Club) and empowerment organisations such as the ATKV, Wellington Buurtwag, SAPD Forum and ACVV.

Dr Petro van der Merwe however feels very positive and excited in the outcome of the Physio 4 Africa Smurf Fun Run. The non-profit organisations, which supported the event at the end, proved to show real character and high moral standards. The legacy of Andrew Murray’s community service could be identified in organisation such as the children and personnel of the Home of Andrew Murray. These children walked all the way from HAM when their bus broke down the morning of the 26 March. They were entertained after the race by a children charity party sponsored by Physio 4 Africa, Nibbly Bits, and Wellington Spar. Breytenbach Centre provided the puppet show by Daireyh Frederick, who recent won a best support actress award.

The older adults of ADAMA, Bosman Vineyard, and VGK Church Aandblom Community Centre’s fall prevention class participated in the fun run and enjoyed a breakfast in the beautiful gardens of Diemersfontein Wine Estate to the relaxing jazz music of Muldene Holloway’s band Soft Landing after the race. The exhibition of Wellington’s history by Wellington Museum, Adama outreach projects, needle work and art and all of Physio 4 Africa’s outreach projects such as: G Project fundraising, HAM and NORSA developmental delay classes, ACVV, Adama and Aandblom Community Centre Fall Prevention, SAPD Farm outreach project and Sunfield Home Group Exercise classes were appreciated by 200 race participants.

Linton Park not only sponsored wine to be auctioned, but also produced the overall and veteran winner, Owen one of their farm workers. All of the winners of each category won a Smurf Toy Hamper with all figurines. The first prize winners also received gift vouchers from Basson Shoes and Clothing and Adventure Cycles. The World Health Organisation (WHO) Community Based Rehabilitation Matrix: Health, Education, Livelihood, Social and Empowerment were represented on all the Physio 4 Africa Banners according the all the different Smurf Characters.

Physio 4 Africa would like to thank all the sponsors, which were categorized, according to the WHO CBR Matrix: Health: Basson Clothing and Adventure Cycles, Education: Hugenote High School Bazaar, Livelihood: Nibbly Bits and Wellington Spar, Social: ATKV and Empowerment: Diemersfontein Wine Estate, Mooi Bly Wines, Linton Park Wines, GVTEC and Wynland laboratories. All these sponsored shared the dedication of reaching out to disadvantage population groups in the Wellington community.

Stowman as well as the SAPD Forum. The funds raised during this event will be used to supply HAM, NORSA, ADAMA, and Dal Josafat Community Centre with balance and coordination rehabilitation equipment for their developmental delay group exercise classes. Physio 4 Africa hopes the Smurf Fun Run will help Wellington to grow to a new way of thinking about creating awareness for community service and outreach programs.