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INTERVIEW: Wandile Zondo – Founder of Thesis Run Cru


INTERVIEW: Wandile Zondo – Founder of Thesis Run Cru

An in-depth conversation on how Thesis Heri Run has become an important event in Jozi’s running culture.

From Left: Khotso Maseko, Nana Nonkela, Tumi Mabogoane, Tshepo Mshengu and Wandile Zondo

We recently caught with Wandile Zondo who is the founder of Thesis Run Cru.
Following this year’s Thesis Heri Run event which saw seven renowned run crews battling it out – we cannot ignore how the running culture in Jozi has evolved and become more of a lifestyle in communities.

In our conversation, Wandile gave us an in-depth vision of the Thesis Heri Run which has become an annual occasion in Soweto on Heritage Day weekend and how Nike brand has played a role in making it a successful journey.

Here is our chat with Wandile Zondo:


What is Thesis Heri Night Run all about, when did you first host the event and what was different about the Speed Edition with Nike?
Heri Night is all about celebrating the heritage of running, the event started 3 years ago. The speed edition in partnership with Nike was a celebration of 7 Crews around Joburg through speed and crowning of the fastest Crew in Joburg in a relay challenge.

Which crews won on Friday?
– Fastest male category – EastRunCru
– Fastest female category- Braamfierunners
– Fastest mixed category- Runshelfie
– Fastest Male – Stephen Mokoka
– Fastest Female – Mapaseka Makhanya


What are you hoping to achieve with these kinds of running events?
Enlighten people on CRU culture and the #BTG (bridge the gap) concept that spans across the world. We want to encourage the masses to start running wherever they are with whoever is readily available.


How has the running culture in Jozi evolved?
Over time it has grown, there are more CRU’s, more running groups in different areas of Johannesburg and the start of the Nike Run Club Johannesburg two years ago. All these running structures have facilitated in the running culture evolving and growing. You can tell by how entries for races get sold out in a short space of time, the culture is growing.


What was the inspiration behind starting Thesis Run Cru & where do you plan to take it in next 5years?
It was about running the streets of Soweto and ensuring we are accessible to everyone no matter their age, size or speed. The plan is to grow the brand footprint around the country through Thesis Lifestyle stores and running events.


Instagram: @thesisruncru


What impact does Thesis Run Cru have on the community?
We see more people running or choosing an active lifestyle around the neighborhood or Soweto as a whole.


How can people be part of the Thesis Run Cru?
It is simple really, show up at basecamp (Thesis Lifestyle Concept Store) and run with us. Follow up on Instagram @thesisruncru


How has the Thesis brand been breaking barriers since 2005?
By being in the forefront of street culture. We were the first concept store in Soweto and Kagiso. We gave people Thesis Social Jam Sessions, Thesis Run Cru and many other platforms we created for the culture to grow.


How has the involvement of the NIKE brand helped in making this a successful journey?
They have assisted in building the CRU’s brand and making the masses aware of the CRU culture through hosting running events, supporting local crews and the NRC app, Nike has assisted us to make running more accessible in Joburg.



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