Cry for Africa..

I have been silent in the past two weeks. Why?

I AM ASHAMED OF MY COUNTRY!

Our country’s thugs have started murdering people not born here in a violent spate of Xenophobic attacks.

Our National Sunday Times front page shows the murder of Emmanual Sithole yesterday. A man from Mocambique. What did he do to deserve to die? He was born in another country!!!!!

This shocking state of affairs have cost the lives of 7 people so far. I would not be surprised if the actual figures are much higher.

THE Xenophobia started in Kwazulu Natal with some very unfortunate remarks by the Zulu king and a son of Jacob Zuma. Both these gents now say their words were taken out of context.

Fact of the matter is: South Africans are extremely violent people. With some exceptions to the rule.

And it sickens me to the core…

The violence against foreigners is happening in our cities. But what would I do if it starts flaring up in our town? The nearest foreigner owned shops are just around the corner from my home. Less than 200 meter away. In a sense they are my neighbours! What will I do if people start attacking  them? If the barbarians start pouring petrol over the Pakistani businessman to set him alight? 

it is an extreme moral question. Do you only use words to protest? Do you use violence to try and protect?

The fact is: I am shocked by the behaviour against fellow Africans. Yes, I am white, I have found that out in the maternity ward years ago- no choice in that. SO yes, I am African too, I was born here. I AM NOT A COLONIST-there is no other country that would “take me back” as a citizen. I have been to Europe a few times. I am not a European! I have much more in common with the Zulu and Sotho than the German and Dutch from where my ancestors came.

So, I state for the record that I am ashamed for our country’s hatred and violence against foreigners. I am angry that so many people get killed daily in our country. And that includes all forms of hatred. The killing of Emmanual Sithole and all other Mozambicans , Zimbabweans, Somali’s and Ethiopians who lost their lives here. AND the killing of my tribe on the farms, the police said 80% of farm attacks are done by Zimbabweans…

I HATE the hatred and the violence. I wish Africa could grow beyond race and all those other bounderies we have used to segregate people, to a new future of… a basic respect for one another as human beings would be a good enough start for now!  80% of South Africans identify themselves as Christian, and one of the most basic principles of Christianity is to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. I do not see that in action around here!

So, people of Africa, FFS grow up! You choose to hate and kill. You can also choose not to…

Word Riders Day 6

On this last day of the tour our group went back to Aliwal North to visit another 3 schools.  On this day I only took this one photo, an old train station was also converted into a school… so I decided to take a photo of some power…

image

I have experienced some braking problems the last couple of days. So after finishing our three school visits, a Bloemfontein Rider, me and one of the funniest men on tour left for the Free State Capital. We had an appointment with Safari 4×4 in Bloem, who also specializes in Adventure Bikes. The  funny one- not a pastor…

image

Photo: Gerard Genis... selfie?

His R1200 GS had some computer problems, and he had to go off to the BMW dealer to try and sort it out. IT also transpired that my front brake pads have gone… and they only had pads for a 2002 onwards model R1150 GS. They were extremely helpfull and phoned every possible shop in the city. But no one in the whole of Bloemfontein had any in stock. The BMW dealership said if they did have any, it would cost R1170 a set (around R12 to the US dollar…) and my bike has two sets in front… bummer…

I had to ride to the evening’s accomodation with only rear brakes still working. My wife has ridden in the backup vehicle the whole day, as I would never endanger her safety on a faulty bike. The next day some of the Gauteng riders phoned an adventure bike shop in Edenvale near the OR Tambo Airport, and they did have stock at R350 a set… My yellow bike went on the trailer back home the next day. I finished the Tour on my blue R850 Roadster, that I have lend/ borrowed ( can never remember the right word here…) to a Cape Town Rider. The Cape people have left the following morning down South in a Bible Society Vito, and my blue bike would have gone o  the trailer. SO… slower way home, but I got there in the end…

The evening of Day 6 we stayed over at Bain’s Game Lodge, also excellent accomodation. We had a wonderful final evening provided by the Free State Bible Society. There we said all our thank you’s and goodbyes. We told our war stories of falls and funny moments, snoring champions and touching moments on the tour..

The next morning we all departed from Bloemfontein in Central South Africa to all the directions on the compass, each heading home…

It was a wonderfull tour again. We visited 74 schools, distributing almost 5000 Bibles, giving each school also some Dept Education materials needed.  We travelled almost 3000 km since leaving home. We visited schools in a spirit of friendship and love, not with hate and guns like Al Shabaab in Kenya… We worked with local churches to help uplift the communities, give hope, even entertained. 

I did not take good photos on this tour, all of them were just quick snaps with my cellphone. The tour did have some excellent photographers recording all the magic moments. In a few weeks time we will receive a DVD with all their photos, and I will share some of their photos with their permission then.

Thanks for following this Tour!
image

Word Riders Day 5

After the very long day 4 we had a short and relaxing day 5.We went on to Venterstad, where a good friend of mine was a pastor many years ago. I took a photo of the small church and sent it to him via Whatsapp.

image

It is one of the small towns of South Africa just slowly fading away…

image

This town really has a huge problem with poverty, alcohol abuse and all relating problems. But thekids at school still have hope and big dreams of becoming lawyers and doctors…

We went on to Burgersdorp, where all the single riders for the trip stayed over in the haunted Jubilee Hotel…

image

We asked the next morning, but the worst paranormal activity they encountered was the snoring of some Riders.  Meanwhile, the married couples on tour stayed over at the Zetana Guesthouse, and that was excellent accomodation indeed!

Burgersdorp is still a beautiful little town. My wife and I found a delightful little coffee shop.

image

we had time for a cup of java…

image

Before we headed to get our group photo taken on the old Dutch Reformed Church steps in town.

image

it really is a beautiful church!

image

Photo by Hans de Waal

Some more if the colourful people of the Word Rider  tour – our Drug Dealers,  or Pharmacists Francois and Hanri, usually found on a BMW R 1200GS.

image

Photo by Wernich Swart

From my own church, the eldest Rider this year, but not the slowest by far- Burger on his Harley Sportster…

image

And the youngest Rider was Hanna, riding
With her mother Alet on an automatic Honda NC 750…

image

I would rather not tell about me joining the club on this day by dropping my bike in a parking lot on the Gariep Dam wall… damn side stand on the dam wall…

Word Riders 2015 Day 4

We departed from Barkley East at 07h00. And what a magicaL ride it was out on the road to Elliot. We could not stop and take photos, but the images remain vivid in my mind. It has rained through the night, but the sky was mostly clear and blue. It was cool with no wind blowing at that stage. IT looked like riding through a postcard! The autumn colours in this region are spectacular, and the road winds through some sand stone hills. In near silence our group rode on, mirroring each other’s lines through the curves and bends. One of those extremely rare, just perfect rides! I am so glsd my wife was with me on this ride!

It could not last… a bit later on the road got dangerous with potholes everywhere. A mighty wind also started blowing near the town of Indwe we had to lean at an angle that felt like 30 degrees into the wind. Quite scary!

Our group visited three schools in the Indwe region.

image

Afterwards we went on through Dordrecht to our final destination at the Gariep Dam.

image

It was a long day in the saddle, more than 400 km. It was also an eventful day with some falls in one of the other groups. A rider on the big BMW 1600GT had a fall, we initially thought he has just broken his collar bone. But it later turned out that he has also broken some ribs, puncturing his lung. He was operated on yesterday, and is recuperating well… The other yellow BMW R1150 GS also took a slight tumble on a wet piece of lawn, but no injuries or damage to the bike resulted.

That evening we as a group was really tired. We had dinner at a beautiful lodge alongside the Orange River.

image

Me and the owner of the other yellow GS offered to help people joining our Yellow BMW club…

image

We would have resprayed their bikes for a small donation for materials used- special tour price. Unfortunately there was no takers, and our business floundered before it got started.

image

Some of the characters on tour- Clive on his Brick…

I will share some more tomorrow…

SILVER anniversary today!

I am still a young man. I still ride my bicycles, and motorbikes. I still enjoy Katy Perry’s music.

So how can it be that today is already my silver anniversary?

This morning, at 09h00, at the old Klipkerk in Bloemfontein 25 years ago, my bride walked down the aisle with her dad.

007

008b

011

013

019

I was very young when I took the leap- just past my 23rd birthday. In the beginning, I was very insecure and it must have been difficult at times for my lovely bride. But we grew together, and as the Afrikaans saying goes, started eating our seven sacks of salt together.

There have been wonderful times, and we also went through extremely difficult times together. I still can’t go away from home for a long time, without actually having an aching heart when she is not near. Her smile still lights up my day.

In my work I see how few couples are really happily married, and stay together even this long. So I know I am truly blessed, being married to my best friend.

We are growing older- we are not as young and as beautiful as 25 years ago- that would be the world’s opinion, not mine! But the journey of life just keeps on getting better and better together…

Who would not love a wife who goes on a 3000 km Bike trip with you?

wpid-20150322_114538.jpg

It was so good last week, on the Word Rider Tour, being so near Golden Gate, (Free State, South Africa) where we started our honeymoon 25 years ago…

Who would not love the mother of our 4 beautiful kids, and the calming factor when the storms of life hit us?
IMG_0407

I don't know who posted this in the first place- but all respect and honor to you!

I don’t know who posted this in the first place- but all respect and honor to you!

Word Riders 2015- a little bit more of the story…

Apologies to all my faithful readers- it might have seemed as if I have dropped off the face of the earth… it felt like that!

We had a wonderful ride through a beautiful part of South Africa. But I experienced serious connectivity problems. You see, I forgot my new tab’s pin number! And I just did not find any wifi hotspots along the way, this is rural Africa, remember!

We stayed over at Aliwal North when we last talked. ON Day 3 we visited a few schools around Aliwal North. We had wonderful times meeting with the kids. But the poverty and alcohol abuse in this region is so sad to see.  The local people caring for this community worries that almost half the children suffer from the effects of Fetal Alcoholism Syndrome… and that is really scary!

After spending the morning in Aliwal North we found our way to Barkley East via the scenic little town of  Lady Grey.  WE had an amazing ride through the curves of Barkley Pass, past our country’s only skiing resort- Tiffendell. We arrived at Barkley East in the afternoon, and then had a nice hamburger lunch at this establishmemt…

image

IT was a bit of a struggle to get there! It is just outside Barkley East on the road to Rhodes. But it is a steep downhill gravel road. And after the rain of the past few days it was so slippery. One Harley went down… And still it kept on raining… but such beautiful countryside!
image

After lunch we were allocated to guest families for the night. My wife and I spent the night in the parsonage of the local Dutch Reformed Church,  where we were treated with great hospitality. We went for a walk to see the whole town, and after five minutes returned for an afternoon nap…

That evening the church gave us a wonderful barbeque (Braai!)
They supplied a lot of mutton chops,  very good dining indeed!  After an exciting day we retreated to bed to end Day 3 of the Tour… With all the rain I really did not take many photos. I will get some from my fellow Word Riders and share with you as I get it…

Word Riders Day 2- Lesotho

We had an early rise this morning, as we had to be at the border post at  Maseru at 07h00. It felt so good leaving South Africa behind, and crossing into Lesotho for the first time.

We had to wait for an official traffic escort, which duly arrived on a Suzuki V Strom with a rather flat front tyre. But this dude can ride, and with his flashing blue lights and blaring siren escorted us safely through Maseru to our first school.

One thing that was really impressing is how friendly and relaxed the people of Lesotho are. Their school pupils look very well behaved. And in each school the children sang for us. School buildings might be a bit dilapidated, but the children are amazing.

image

We heard primary schools in a rural setting, in shabby buildings, singing complicated choir music in 4 different tones. We heard music that would be very well received in the best cathedrals and concert halls. These Lesotho children have a very good ear for music!

image

We visited three schools in pouring rain, and then exited Lesotho again at Wepener. This is a very sad looking dying town in the eastern Free State. We rode on  to Rouxville where we had our first thing to eat and drink at the delightful Country Cousin restaurant.

image

Being soaking wet, that hamburger and chips and coffee tasted heavenly. We rode about 280 km today in the rain. My wife did it with me without any complaints! What a woman!

image

Tonight we are staying in Aliwal North, and we are having supper at the DRC again, our church really knows a lot about hospitality towards weary strangers! They have been busy for hours making Potjiekos, food prepared in a huge threelegged cast iron pot. We who love Potjiekos would vehemently disagree that it could also be called a Stew… It is a Potjie…

Now we are trying to get our riding gear dry…

image

Word Riders 2015 Day 1

image

Technically that would be yesterday. Day 1 that is..
Yesterday morning we left home at 07h00. We rode to Kempton Park, where our country’s largest airport is. But we are not flying with wings, The northerm  riders rode together from Kempton Park. Near Heilbron we went through a terrifying electrical storm, with a lot of rain pouring dowm. Anyway, all the Word Riders came together at Bethlehem, the main town of the Eastern Free State. We had a lovely stay at The Lofts in Bethlehem. Supper was at the Bethlehem North Dutch Reformed Church. They managed a barbeque in pouring rain, and gave us an excellent meal!

This morning our group split up and visited 5 churches in the region. I had the honor of preaching at Bethlehem Effrata DRC.  Psalm 107 was used as my Scripture reading.

Afterwards we drove the 37 km to the scenic town of Clarens, a place so beautiful that Brad Pitt owned a house there. The photo above is on the outskirts of town. The road behind leads to our South African Golden Gate,  where 25 years ago my wife and I began our honeymoon on 31 March. Yip- silver anniversary coming up!

After an excellent Roti lunch provided by the DRC Clarens, we drove over some bad tar roads but through beautiful countryside to Ladybrand, where we are staying at the Cranberry Cottage. Another excellent place to stay!

Tomorrow morning we are doing another first for  me. A group of us are entering the country of Lesotho, going to the capital of Maseru. We are visiting some schools around the capital tomorrow morning. The weatherman predicts rain…

WE are having a lot of fun so far on this tour, and have done nearly 700 km since leaving home yesterday.

I dont get much chance to stop and take photos yet… will try to get some from the support team to share later on.  But now it is time for bed, we have to cross an international border at 7 tomorrow morning. It feels so strange to know we are sleeping just 13 km away from a totally different country’s capital tonight. I am so looking forward to finally get a Lesotho stamp in my passport!

Thanks for reading along!

You can also have a look at wordriders.wordpress.com  for more info on our tour.

PS. i have written this post last night after taking a sleeping pill. I did not post it then, you would have laughed at the last paragraph before I fell asleep. Edited and posted now…

 

Adventure in the Water

I am packing for our next Motorbike trip, starting tomorrow morning. Will blog from my new Samsung Tab4 if I get the chance and some wifi…

Meanwhile, two weeks ago we saw some amazing fun in the sea just of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa…

IMG_1879

This is one of my favorite photos… I don’t know how to watermark yet….

Preparing for the next Word Rider tour….

ON Saturday morning my wife and I, with a lot of friends on 44 bikes, are leaving on this year’s Word Rider tour. This year we are visiting the Eastern Free State and Eastern Cape provinces.

I am really looking forward to this year’s tour! The autumn colors in the mountain ranges around there are breathtakingly beautiful in March. 

We are starting in Bethlehem on Saturday. I will keep you posted as we ride along…

So this week, in between normal duty, I snatch a few moments to start cleaning my bike, and packing our luggage.  This part of the journey is already exciting!

image