A London-based writer, broadcaster and journalist, Stefan Simanowitz writes for publications in the UK and around the world including the: Guardian, Independent, Financial Times, Washington Times, Global Post, Huffington Post, New Statesman, In These Times, New Internationalist, Prospect, Lancet, Salon.com, Contemporary Review, Mail & Guardian.

He has a background in policy, political strategy and international human rights law and has worked for the European Commission, Liberty and the ANC during South Africa’s first democratic election campaign. He has reported from mass graves in Somaliland and Indonesia, prisons in Cameroon and South Africa, refugee camps in the Sahara desert and he writes on all aspects of global politics. He also has an interest in culture and travel, writing reviews on music, literature, film and theatre and taking photographs to accompany his reviews and reportage.

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The Other Afrik - United Kingdom - Health - Women - Demonstration
15,000 British women strip for a cause
There was a lot of cleavage on display on Saturday night as 15,000 women, most wearing decorated bra’s, gathered in Hyde park for the 10th annual Moonwalk. Organised by the charity Walk the Walk participants set off just before midnight and walked 26.2 miles around London to raise money for breast cancer research.


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Mary Yeates

The youngest participant has just turned 13, and the oldest was seventy-nine year old Mary Yeates who had come down from Portishead to do the walk for the sixth time. “Training has been hard this year partly because I’m getting older and partly because of the cold weather,” says Mary. “In February I was training in the sleet and my eyelashes froze.” She is however confident that she will complete the course and even looks forward to overtaking people quarter her age.

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One person who does not want to be overtaken is Michelle Dewbury, the winner of The Apprentice in 2006 who is taking part in her first Moonwalk with her younger sister. “I know it’s not a race but I’m a naturally competitive person,” she laughs. “I won’t like it if anyone overtakes me”. She has taken part in marathons before so has an idea of what to expect and has a special incentive waiting for her when she finishes. “My mum is in my house and has instructions to start a big fry up as soon as I text to say we’re on the way home.”

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The brain child of Nina Barough, Walk the Walk has already raised nearly 60 million pounds for research, equipment and facilities for people with breast cancer. “We are hoping to raise 6 million pounds” tonight says Barough who herself discovered that she had an aggressive tumour when she was 41 and had to undergo a mastectomy.

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Michelle Dewbury

Many of the participants have themselves been touched by a disease that affects 1 in 9 women and that will be diagnosed in 46,000 people this year alone. Many women have messages written on their their outfits and one young woman received emotional applause after it was announced from the stage that she was doing the walk even though her mother had lost her struggle with breast cancer just the day before.

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But despite the seriousness of the cause, the mood in Hyde Park is festive. There are bands and comedians on the stage and over 40 massage therapists giving free massages. Many people have made an effort with their outfits and there are feather boas, flashing fairy lights an array of ingeniously decorated bras. “Take a look at these puppies,” says Vanessa Pickford from Warminster, lifting up her tee-shirt. Her bra is decorated with a puppy on each cup.

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Vanessa Pickford

There are a smattering of men in the crowd, most also wearing bras or coconuts. “We normally have about 1000 men who take part” says Nina. Damien Wraight and Colin Herbert from Norfolk are sporting bras and pink tutus. “We’re tempted to get to Smithfields and slip into the pub for a pint” says Damien “But I don’t think we’ll get served dressed like this.” “I saw one man who was wearing a nylon thong,” laughs Jo Pillai from Greenford. “He hadn’t been walked very far but the chaffing was already causing him serious grief.”

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As night temperature drops a sea of pink-clad women stream out of the massive pink big top and begin their walk. “I know it’s not going to be a stroll in the park,” says Vanessa Pickford, “but its for a good cause and I have my bosom buddies with me.”


Unauthorized republication of this article without the express permission of Afrik-news.com or Afrik.com is prohibited. The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Afrik-news.com or Afrik.com.

Damien Wraight and Colin Herbert


United Kingdom

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