Our Trustees


Russell Loubser

Non-Executive Director of FirstRand Limited
Non-Executive Director of FNB Divisional Board
Non-Executive Director of RMB Divisional Board
Council Member of University of Pretoria


Ursula du Plooy

Change a Life Cycle Tour founder and Tour Director


Jonathan Scott

Director of Raven Imaging
Change a Life Route Master


Ian Hayes

Director of Cliff Dekker Hofmeyer Inc


If you would like to donate to our projects, please make payment to:


The Mike Thomson Change a Life Trust
First National Bank Corporate Branch
Account No: 62588543051
Branch Code: 255005

Please direct queries to: info@changealifecycle.co.za


The Mike Thomson Change a Life Trust

The Mike Thomson Change a Life Trust was established in 2008 in memory of Mike Thomson, a Computershare financial services manager who was murdered at his family home in 2007.

Over the past decade, the Mike Thomson Change a Life Trust has raised more than R70 million for crime prevention and youth development projects which are creating more sustainable futures for young South Africans and their broader communities. With the funds raised and careful selection of highly effective projects.

The Trust has been instrumental in:

  • Legislating the use of DNA in South Africa’s criminal justice system, and
  • Providing sports training, nutrition, early childhood development, academic support and skills or tertiary education to lift our young Change a Life beneficiaries out of poverty.
  • A growing number of our beneficiaries have become sportsmen of note, with some representing South Africa internationally in rowing, cycling, gymnastics and handball.
  • Even those who have not excelled know that a different, more sustainable future is now within their reach.

During the past four years, Change a Life has strengthened its focus on sports development. 

The pace of achievement by its beneficiary projects has accelerated and the projects have celebrated significant milestones, some of which are highlighted below. Many of these are the result of increased funding support.

2014

The DNA Project celebrated the passing of the DNA Act it had lobbied through Parliament. In the same year, the Martin Dreyer Change a Life Academy achieved a significant breakthrough as Sbonelo Eric Zondi won his first Dusi Canoe Marathon with Andy Birkitt.

2015

  • Nhlanhla Nene won the Non-Stop Dusi with Michael Mbanjwa
  • John Ntuli won the inaugural 1070 Munga MTB race
  • Nemato Change a Life’s Athenkosi Hlekani graduated from UJ with a BBusSci degree
  • Nemato’s champion gymnast, Onke Mangele was named Best SA Junior Trampoline gymnast, a title he still holds
  • 2 Nemato rowers were selected for the SA National Team.

2016

The RMB Change a Life MTB team was competing successfully in premier South African events and Martin Dreyer transformed his running league into a team of high-performance athletes trained to compete in the extreme ‘Black-Ops Elite’ category of the National Warrior Race Series. In addition:

  • Change a Life ambassador Sbonelo Khwela won the Non-Stop Dusi
  • Isaac Mdletshe achieved the Change a Life Karate-do’s first black belt
  • Nemato students attained a record 18 BD matric passes.

2017 

Proved to be a bumper year with Change a Life projects achieving their best results ever across the disciplines of paddling, mountain-biking, running and academic support. Highlights included:

  • A historic win for Maza Ndumiso and Mboneni Ncgobo in the Dusi2c MTB stage race – the first black team to win a major MTB stage race
  • Sthembiso Masango represented SA at World Marathon Championships in Germany and World X-Country Championships in Australia, and Mboneni Ngcobo received KZN colours for X-Country
  • The Merchants CAL Running Team participated in all 8 National series Warrior races across SA
  • A record 5 Nemato gymnasts represented SA internationally
  • A Nemato handball player competed in the U17 World Champs in Mauritius
  • 25 Early Childhood Development teachers were trained for schools in the Eastern Cape.

2018

The upward momentum of achievement continues with Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy athletes achieving podium positions across their three sporting disciples. Nemato athletes have achieved the following so far:

  • Of the 4 SA trampoline gymnasts selected for Youth Olympics trials in Egypt, 3 were from Nemato, confirming that Nemato is a feeder club for national champions. The Nemato team won gold at the African Championships and Siyabulela Siwa ranked as African Champion in double mini-trampoline
  • Nemato rowers won gold medals at the SA Championships in Johannesburg, while top Nemato rower and talented mathematician, Odwa Ntamo, was awarded a full scholarship to study at Grey College, Port Elizabeth
  • 2 Nemato handball players won silver medals at the Zone 6 Championships in Zambia, while 2 fencers are ranked nationally in 15th and 26th positions.

2019

Both projects continued to go from strength to strength as they achieved sports excellence and empowered their participants in other areas of their lives:

  • Nemato’s trampoline gymnasts were the strongest in South Africa and Africa and performed admirably in World Championships; one Nemato gymnast was identified by SASCOC as a contender for the 2024 Olympics
  • Nemato fencers and handball players dominated Eastern Cape provincial teams in both sports
  • The maths results of Nemato students continued to improve as a result of an innovative maths programme introduced during their homework classes
  • Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Zulus achieved unprecedented success in the 2019 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon, taking up 50% of the top 30 places
  • Cyclists from the FNB Change a Life Mountain Bike Team were first all-Black team to complete the grueling Absa Cape Epic
  • Merchants Change a Life Running Team endurance athletes competing in the Black Ops Elite category of the National Warrior Race Series feature regularly in the series’ top ten.
  • 2020 / 2021

    Both projects excelled in the sporting codes they were able to compete in during COVID-19 and they used additional funding to provide emergency food relief and other humanitarian support to their members and communities during the pandemic:

    • Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Zulus blew the lights out at the 2021 Dusi Canoe Marathon, with Sandile Mbanjwa winning the competitive U/18 Junior category and 7 placing in the top 15 positions, including three gold medalists
    • With many of the major competitive stage races cancelled due to COVID-19, the FNB Change a Life MTB team focused on the rigorous cross-country (XCO) lap racing
    • Mboneni Ngcobo won the sub veteran category of the KZN provincial XCO event in May 2021 and Lindokuhle Ngubo placed 2nd in the U/18 category
    • Lihle Ngidi won the two-day Ride the Berg Race in the Northern Drakensberg
    • Sithembiso Masango came 2nd overall in the Tankwa Karoo Munga Grit and 11th overall in the Gauteng Munga Grit. Sithembiso has won the development category of the grueling Munga series for three consecutive years.
    • With obstacle course racing on hold as a result of COVID-19 the Merchants Change a Life Running team members have maintained their fitness levels with trail running
    • Nemato Change a Life retained its position as South Africa’s leading trampoline gymnastics club, with Nemato gymnasts claiming 4 of the top 6 positions at Championship trials
    • Khanyile Mbolekwa, one of the top 4 gymnasts, won gold in the Junior Double Mini Trampoline event at the Veriflite Online Competition, where he competed against a range of international gymnasts
    • Nemato members claimed 4th place in the Boats virtual tournament which uses gamification to introduce learners to basic coding concepts and social issues such as ocean conservation
    • Four Nemato members joined forces with a Chicago-based robotics team to compete in the FIRST® Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm. FIRST® is a global community that seeks to empower and equip youth to become innovators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, while fostering lifelong skills through inclusive team-based initiatives

    2022

    The Nemato Change a Life Club (Nemato) and the Martin Dreyer Change a Life Academy rose above ongoing socio-economic challenges in their communities to achieve significant advances across their sports and education activities.

    • Nemato gymnasts, Khanyile Mbolekwa and Liyema Nxobo were the only African gymnasts to compete at the World Championships in Azerbaijan. Both were recruited for four-year vocational training by the inspirational Zip Zap Circus in Cape Town.
    • Nemato’s rowers, fencers and handball players also excelled, competing and winning medals at national and international events.
    • With mathematics and computer-based problem solving at the heart of Nemato’s academic and skills development programmes, club members learned to code and used their coding, HTML and Javascript skills to maintain the club’s website and provide commercial website development services. One club member, Sipiwe, is doing an IT learnership at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, teaching coding in township schools and assisting the club to build a cloud-based membership database that updates automatically.
    • The club accelerated its skills development and small enterprise development activities to create functional futures for its members through social entrepreneurship. Activities at different stages of development include fish farming, sandbag construction, plastic recycling, snake handling, coffee making and providing music at events. Some of these activities have become income-generating.

    • The MDCAL paddlers achieved 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th gold medal places in the prestigious 2022 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon in February, while nine double canoes in the top seventeen positions overall were CAL paddlers.
    • Young paddling sensation, Sandile Mbanjwa represented South Africa at the U23 World Sprint Champs. Other young paddlers such as Sandile Mtolo and Mvelo Ngidi placed 2nd in the competitive under 23 category in the SA River Champs on the Umngeni River.
    • MDCAL paddlers delivered another phenomenal performance in the gruelling Non-stop Dusi, placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall, with CAL paddlers Thabani Msia and Msawenkosi Mtolo defending their 2021 Non Stop Dusi title. This incredibly tough 120 km race which involves 90 kms of paddling and 30 kms of running with the canoes, is a true testament to the athletes’ physical resilience and mental toughness.
    • The MDCAL running team also excelled, with Martin’s young warriors placing 5th in the top 10 overall and 9th in the top 20 positions of the Titan Hybrid Heroes obstacle race, the most competitive obstacle race of 2022. Bongani Hlongwane came 5th, with team Captain, Hlelani Radebe a close 6th.
    • The Citi CAL Mountain Bike Academy has developed a formidable reputation in recent years, featuring in the top 10 positions of several provincial competitive events.
    • Youth development riders Nhlanhla and Thando represented the academy in the 2022 Absa Cape Epic MTB Race. They overcame rookie errors to climb up the ranking from 119th on day one to finish 51st overall after eight gruelling days. Lindokuhle and Nkululeko also demonstrated their tenacity, crossing the finish line four minutes before the close despite damage to Lindokuhle’s free-hub body and Nkululeko’s derailleur.
    • Sithembiso, the Dragon, Masango won the development category of the gruelling 500km non-stop Munga Grit, and put his prize money towards the building of his home.
    • 19 year old Lindokuhle placed 33rd overall in the Elite category of the 85km SA Marathon Championships.
    • A highlight of the year was the delivery of four new Giant Anthem Pro 29 2 MTB bikes to the Citi CAL Team.

While these stand-out performances attract attention, Change a Life and its partners contribute more broadly to the creation of sustainable futures for:

  • More than 300 young South Africans who benefit directly from Change a Life programmes, and
  • More than 5 000 family and community members, who benefit indirectly.