It was during the last stretch of their 16-day trek when they began seeing CA registration plates that Mzingisi Mase and Giyani Joseph began to feel a sense of anticipation.
Having joined 25 UCT students on the fundraising Long Walk of Hope, 1 700km from Pietermaritzburg, they were almost home.
Now, sitting on the Jammie Steps among bemused first-years on Orientation Week, Joseph laughs at the question: "How did you bear up?", and looks ruefully at his shoes.
He pulls his feet together and flexes them for inspection. The body has withstood the strain, but the shoes – They have kissed tar sticky as molasses, been waterlogged by torrential downpours, and have been rested while the walkers slept under trees.
The duo was among a group waiting to set out on the last leg of the journey from UCT to the Red Cross Children's Hospital, in the company of some local stars: the Western Province cricket team, wizened competitive walker Philip Rabinowitz and the festive Kaapse Klopse.
Twenty-five students started the walk on January 16 to raise fund to upgrade the HIV/AIDS Research Laboratory at the Red Cross Children's Hospital.
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