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Sihle Khumalo

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Zimbabwe’ Category

Back from Central Africa

I have just returned from exploring Central Africa. Unlike my previous trip – the Cape to Cairo – which had a clear destination, this one could have ended anywhere. In approximately 30 days, I travelled by public transport from Johannesburg – through Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and then back to Uganda and Kenya. Besides just travelling, I had six things on my TO-DO List:

1. Take a ride on a ferry (MV Liemba) on Lake Tanganyika
2. Stand on the equator in Uganda
3. Bungee jump on the source of the Nile
4. Visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre
5. Get upclose and personal with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda
6. Visit the remote source of the Nile River at Nyungwe forest in Rwanda.
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New Year’s Trip to Vic Falls

On the last Friday of 2007, I – together with my nine friends – decided on continuing with our ritual of celebrating New Year in another African country. This time we decided to visit Victoria Falls. Due to reported unavailability of fuel in Zimbabwe, we thought of – instead of using the direct route – driving the two cars through Botswana.

We rushed through Rustenburg, Zeerust and got to the Skilpadshek border gate which – thank goodness – had extended its operating hours until midnight because of the festive season.

We got to Botswana’s capital City – Gaborone – just before midnight and drove throughout the night to Francistown. We left Botswana’s second largest town at sunrise on our way to Kazungula border which was still more than 500 kilometres away. About forty kilometres outside a non-descript town called Nata, we hit a massive pothole which led to – due to the bending of the rims – the puncture of both front and rear left tyres. Another car had to go back to Nata where we were helped by a young man operating on the side of the road. He basically, using an old hammer, hit and straightened both rims. Unfortunately one rim cracked and that meant we were not going to have a spare tyre. Although we had been delayed for more than three hours, we were all in great spirits again as we continued – albeit slowly – heading to Kazungula. Now and then we stopped and let the elephants – at their own pace – cross the road. Only in Africa, I know.
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New Years’ at Vic Falls

Does Zimbabwe epitomise what main stream media often refer to as a ‘dark continent’? Has Robert Mugabe ruined what was at one stage referred to as the Jewel of Africa? Has Zimbabwe reached a stage of no return?

These are some of the questions I will be trying to answer in the next couple of weeks. Just after Christmas I – together with my friends – will drive up to Victoria Falls for the 2008 New Year celebration. We want to party with the locals. We want to experience and see if – at all – Zimbabweans have lost hope?

History, especially in Africa, has proved over and over again that the human spirit eventually triumphs against all the injustices of this world. Therefore I want to see for myself if the human spirit will do it again.

I will let you know – in the New Year – what my ‘findings’ were. In the meantime, take it easy and have loads of good clean fun!!!


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