Victor Mooney, Executive Director and Founder of New York based South African Arts International (SAAI) has announced that “the Spirit of Malabo“, a twenty-four foot custom rowboat built in Brazil will be dedicated to the late Nelson Mandela during a five-thousand mile transatlantic row.
In 1994, on behalf of New York State Senator Kemp Hannon, County of Nassau and the Village of Hempstead, Mr. Mooney was honored to present Nelson Mandela the municipality flags in Tuynhys. Tuynhuys is the office of the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa in Capetown.
“I just remember Mr. Mandela telling me to follow my heart”, said Mr. Mooney.
During the trek across the Atlantic Ocean, Mr. Mooney will have a little company. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is sending Mr. Mooney some official Brazuca’s – 2014 World Cup Match Balls. When Mr. Mooney arrives in New York, he’ll pass the balls back to FIFA for their “Football for Hope Program“.
The Spirit of Malabo will be rowed from Las Palmas, Canary Islands to New York, with a resupply in the British Virgin Islands. The goal is to encourage voluntary HIV testing. The Spirit of Malabo is scheduled to arrive on December 20 aboard Maersk Line ship Detroit. Maersk Line is the global container division and the largest operating unit of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group, a Danish business conglomerate.
“During the Goree Challenge, we hope to get 1 Million people to score a goal for an AIDS free generation. We invite your soccer club, school, businesses and others to ceremonially kick a futbol (soccer ball) into a goal. Please try your best to document your goals and share on our facebook page. The campaign will culminate during the 2014 World Cup“, Mr. Mooney added.
In February 2013, at the Historic Centre (known in Portuguese as The Pelourinho) in Salvador, Brazil, Victor Hugo Poria Nasicmento, ten years old, scored the first goal out of 1,000,000. The Score a goal for an AIDS-free campaign will spread throughout the host cities before and during the championship series matches in Belo Horizonte, Brasila, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and other areas. This campaign has been underway in the United States since 2011.
“To reach an AIDS-free generation, we need everyone to score a goal“, said Victor Mooney.
Mr. Mooney also said that he’ll step down as executive director of SAAI in September 2014, in commemoration of the organization twenty-year anniversary.