The pope is waving at me!

Trigger-happy with a lasergun
I’m driving through southern Tanzania, and it’s pretty relaxed. Apart from the odd unexpected pothole to keep you alert, the road is reasonable to good. There’s a speed limit of 50 for the villages, and there are signs, speed bumps, speed humps and speed rubbles to remind you. And too many policemen and –women with laserguns to enforce it. I know that speeding – even with 1 km – will cost you. So I stay well below 50 untill I reach the end of a village, when a policeman stops me waving with his toy gun. With a big “Gotcha!” smile he shows me the 63 on the small screen. “Why were you speeding?” he wants to know. “I was sure that I had the village well behind me.” And I really thought I had. But they put the ‘end of speed limit’ signs at least a few kilometers outside a village to create a speed trap. You think you must have missed the sign, or that it’s been run over by a truck or stolen. I end up paying 60.000 shilling (24 euro, with a receipt) or 30.000 without one, and opt for the latter. Old trick, and it works. When I drive away I see that his cap is still on the bonnet. I stop to give it back: “30.000 for your cap?” We both laugh. Driving through Mikumi Wildlife Park can be much more expensive when you hit one of the bigger mammals. This antelope is a cheapie, though. A giraffe will set you back USD 2.500!

All animals are equal, bur some are more equal than others

All animals are equal, bur some are more equal than others

The pope is waving at me!
Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being waved at by the pope. Yet there he is, lifesize, waving at me in a way only popes can, the hand at shoulder height, smiling without laughing, subdued. Do they get a special training for this, I wonder. My concentrated driving doesn’t allow me to take a picture of him on the back of the the bus in front of me. In Tanzania they certainly know how to wield a spray paint gun to customize their vehicles. Shortly after the pope I see one with a devoutly looking (always slightly up) black Jesus and the words: “God is my boss!” These little works of art must cost a lot of time and money so you want an image that lasts. The driver with the US flag and Osama Bin Laden and the text: “Still wanted!” probably wished he had opted for something more timeless.

Osama Bin Laden: still wanted!

Osama Bin Laden: still wanted!

The Afrikaners are decent people who have been mislead by their leaders (Nelson Mandela)
From far away you can recognize us as the bearers of God’s light in Africa (Eugene Terre’ Blanche, AWB leader)
I don’t think our roots as Afrikaners in Africa are planted in the soil of justice (Wilhelm Verwoerd, grandson of Hendrik Verwoerd and ANC member)

I should catch up on my reading. Although I left South Africa several weeks ago I am still in the middle of its recent post-apartheid situation. I’m reading Dervla Murphy’s South from the Limpopo.

Dervla Murphy

Dervla Murphy

She’s some Irish woman! Cycled all over the world in the most inhospitable countries and made this solo trip through South-Africa in the early nineties as a sextagenarian. At the time when Chris Hani, the charismatic leader of the ANC, was murdered by an assassin of the AWB (Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging) and the country was in great turmoil, with killings from both sides as a daily news event. This is all less than a generation ago. As an atheist Murphy describes how apartheid is firmly founded on the bible. She meets dominee Snyman, the AWB’s second in command. After coffee and biscuits the dominee opens his bible:

Strips of parchments marked the passages justifying – nay exhorting – apartheid. Having been cursed by the Lord, explained dominee Snyman, the sons of Ham turned black and became irredeemably degenerate – subhuman. The Afrikaans language, as it evolved, took care of the distinction between mense (meaning people, who are white) and skepsels (meaning creatures, who are non-white). Every right-wing thought, word and deed is inspired from On High; the AWB are only doing what they have to do, as men and women who heed the word of the Lord.
Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging

Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging

In one of my posts from Namibia I made some critical observations about the continuing strong German and South-African presence there. As one Afrikaner explained to me: “We still see Namibia as part of our country.” My post illicited some fierce and agressive reactions on a South-African 4×4 forum. Here’s a typical example:

(…) is jy die onnosel kort klein wat n foto van my in eastwoods wou neem waar ek met n bier in die hand gestaan het? As dit jy is, onthou mooi wat daai aand gebeur het. As ek jou hier kry vreet jy die keer jou kamera se lens. Onnosel stront.

My Afrikaans is good enough to understand that he’s not exactly inviting me over for a beer! Let’s just say that if you have to resort to such language you are simply confirming my observations.

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