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> Mining country

Wednesday, 12 May 2010 - 12:16

Day 223  - Tue 11 May ~ 18,938km, Morgenzon, South Africa

Travelling across the Highveld through the heart of SA's mining country it was a day to forget as countless ore trucks sucked me into their back draught and spat me out while I tried desperately to cling to the hard shoulder in a ripping cross wind. There is a complete absence of traditional villages while enormous Afrikaans farms dominate the barren landscape - you can easily see why such racial tension over land ownership exists.

The Afrikaans farmers sure live up to their stereotype with two tone panel safari shirts, eye wateringly short and tight khaki shorts and dense tashes, that put my feeble attempts to shame, all the rage. I'm not sure if it's a result of being weaned on red meat and spending a life time dodging salads but they are also incredibly stout with forearms like tree trunks and monstrous plate size hands that leave you feeling like a toddler when you go in for a shake!

Tonight I've been saved from camping in the bitter cold by Doris and Andreas, the generous hosts of the only accommodation in this one donkey mining town.

Comment Count: 3 Comments

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Comments:

Rob, I think perhaps 'racial


Rob,

I think perhaps 'racial tension' is incorrect in this instance. It's more an issue of the have's and have nots.

There is an active mechanism in place for gradual land reform (in order to redress the historical imbalance) which works on a simple 'willing buyer, willing seller' basis. It's been slow but I am led to believe 5% of farm land has changed hands to date.

It doesn't sound like a lot but having cycled past some farms you will no doubt realise it is a huge amount of land. The speed of transition is frustrating but perhaps it allows for the very neccessary acclimatization from subsistence agriculture to fully mechanised commerical farming. The gulf is vast in every conceivable way and the skills, equipment and attitude need to be in place first. The alternative is easily witnessed just across the border in the once proud nation of Zimbabwe.

I'd also have to agree with the stereotypes comment above. South Africa is an extermemly diverse nation and yet at the same time a lot of stereotypes do apply, just not everywhere. Just take each person on their merit and you will no doubt be pleasantly surprised and horrified in equal measure.

All that aside I admire what you have done and aim to do immensely. Keep focussed on the prize and don't be distracted by the endless 'anthropolitics' of SA.

Vasbyt!

David

2 more days??!!


Hey Rob, some elementary geometry suggests you will be in Pietermaritzburg this weekend... how amazing!!!!!!!  Whatever the outcome of the next few weeks (and months, for England's finest XI), your trip has already been an incredible success, an absolute inspiration, and a damn fine read too!

I'm sure you're looking forward to fattening up over the next 2 weeks, as the final & essential part of your training? 

We're so looking forward to seeing the abonimable bikeman in Cape Town!

"Spoed"!!!

Stereotypes


Going well Rob! But you are being fooled into accepting stereotypes! Those farms are not all owned by Afrikaners! And some Afrikaners are wimps! Keep going. Your Videos were great. 

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England!

Triathlon Completion: Day 255 - Sat 12 June
-20,293km Rustenburg, SA

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