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…

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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…

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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…

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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!
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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.

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

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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…

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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.

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we had time for a cup of java…

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

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it really is a beautiful church!

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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.

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Photo by Wernich Swart

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

I will share some more tomorrow…