Southern Riders MCC (Motorcycle Club South Africa)
The Southern Riders MCC is a South African motorcycle club that operates across South Africa. It’s not an outlaw motorcycle gang or one-percenter club and is in no way engaged in any drug related or criminal activities. A highly social club, the Southern Riders have friendships with many other clubs in South Africa and are very active in the biking community.
The Southern Riders are well known at “day jols” (day events organized by motorcycle clubs), motorcycle rallies, parties and runs. Membership is entirely voluntary and all members are required to have motorcycles. The only exception to this rule is honourary members, wives of members and their kids (who get apprentice membership).
The Southern Riders MCC were founded on 1986 in Bloemfontein, Freestate province, South Africa. The founding members were: Johan van Rensburg, Marius Griesl and Stuart Hanson. The original clubhouse was located at Suikerbossie St in Bloemfontein, but was later relocated to Kerk St in Bloemfontein. In only one year the club membership grew in Bloemfontein Chapter (a town which was in those days very authoritarian) to forty members. Johan van Rensburg (founding member) later relocated to Pretoria in the Transvaal province and opened another Chapter of the Southern Riders there. In 2010 a chapter was opened in Port Elizabeth.
The clubs “colors” are based on the confederate flag of the US Civil war with a skulled cavalry rider in the middle smoking a sigarette. The Southern Riders are in no way connected to the Confederate cause or any beliefs that Americans have about the flag. It was originally chosen to embody the rebel spirit of the biker and the freedom biking entails. Remember that this is a South African club and as such their views on the Confederate flag is different. In almost every rally stall American flags both Yankee and Confederate can be bought and amusingly some SA bikers sometimes wear both on their jackets at the same time.
There are some guidelines in the club to member colors. The jacket or “cutoff” must be black leather for the sake of uniformity. The patch of the club must be uniform and of official source. Only paid up members may wear their colors. The only other badges and patches normally worn on the jacket surrounding the colors and to the front of the jacket is normally the following: rally patches and metal badges; decorative patches bought to commemorate a though or special occasion. Added underneath the club patch is a lable style patch noting the members nickname/roadname/name and sometimes rank (if the member is a committee member like a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Road Captain or Sergeant-at-Arms).
Apprentice colors are devoid of the flag and skull and bear only the name of the club and the word “APPY” printed in bold.
3. Membership and Regulations
Those interested in becoming members start by “hanging out” with the club and becoming “hangarounds”. This gives members a chance to get to know them and consider them for membership. New members are generally chosen by ranking committee members like the president after the hangaround has proven to be an acceptable candidate for membership.
Members are required to have a bike (fast enough to keep up with the rest of the pack when on a road trip) or are required to be married to a member with a bike. This rule considers that South Africa is a 3rd world country and because bikes are so expensive that most citizens aren’t always capable of affording more than one bike per family.
Apprentice members or “APPY”s are generally young men who have yet to purchase a bike and have been hangarounds with the club for some time. These “APPY”s generally assist members at rallies with setting up the camp site and on the odd occasion fetching them drinks.
The club has a document containing their rules and regulations that they refer to as a constitution.
4. Chapters, Organization and Hierarchy.
The club has chapters in the following cities:
The club is currently opening new chapters in the following towns and cities:
Each chapter is controlled by a committee (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Road Captain, Sergeant-At-Arms). This committee carries out it’s duties as described in the constitution. The President makes most of the descisions in the club but can be overruled by the National President.
The hierarchy is as follows:
Northern South Africa Southern South Africa
All chapters north of Bloemfontein Chapters south of Bloemfontein and
Individual Chapters Individual Chapters
Chapter President/Leader Chapter President/Leader
Rest of committee Rest of committee
5. Activities and ceremonies
The club attends rallies regularly and also when time allows attends runs and “day jols” (day events organized by other clubs), this may also include charity events. The club normally loads everything into a club vehicle and trailer that they will need for the rally (tent, sleeping bag, booze) and then travels to the rally on their bikes. At a rally pretty much anything goes the only rule of thumb being to disgrace the club or get into any fights.
The Southern Riders are seen by most clubs as a friendly group and they have friendships with most clubs. They seem to be expanding their membership at the moment and their aim is to stay a social/family based club on the rougher side of the spectrum. Visitors seem to be welcome at their clubhouses and their events.