Published: September 12th 2007April 24th 2007
Young Nyaneca Humbe mother
The Nyaneca share many traditions with the Ova-Himbas in northern Namibia. The also smear ochre on their bodies and mix clay into their hair. In the mountains south of Lubango, two different Nyaneca tribes live, that can be differentiated by their elaborate hairdos. Beautiful and very friendly they live secluded from modern society and only on rare occasions do the women go into town to sell milk or visit the hospital.
3000 km separated me from Aili
who was in Cape Town
, not that the corrupt immigration officers at Lobito
On the contrary they did their best to hinder me to get down to Cape Town by refusing me to leave the boat. After 36 hours they realized I wasn’t going to pay any bribes and I was finally let ashore. I wasn’t allowed to stay with my friend Kabila
, and the immigration officers chased him away then they stalked me as I walked around town. This made me feel a bit uncomfortable, so I quickly left for Benguela, coincidentally so did the immigration officer that was stalking me.
There too, he made sure that I couldn’t stay with any locals. He tried to convince me to stay in one of the expensive hotels in town and took me around to a few of them, until I eventually told him I was going to a hotel far out of town, and that I refused to pay for his transport so that he could come along and control that I really checked in.
I had lost the appetite to see the city anyway, so I guess that he managed
The Main Road
This is how the badly damaged main road between Benguela and Lubango looks like. Angola along with the rest of Central Africa has (without doubt) got the worst roads on the planet. They are kept in that way since all the money supposedly put into the countries for infrastructure ends up in the corrupt governments bankaccounts.
with whatever he was sent out to do, force me to stay somewhere expensive - or force me to leave.
My plan was to hitch-hike all the way back to Cape Town, but as the sun was setting I realized that my chance to catch a ride from Benguela
was very small, since the road was hardly travelled even during day time. So I bought a ticket to a sinking bus aptly named “Titanic
”, filled with chickens and goats, drunkards and devoted Christians, 82 African souls and me.
“Amanha de manha!” The ticket-booth-boy said irritated the third time I asked when the bus would leave; just to make sure I wouldn’t miss it. Since it was leaving at 8 o’ clock the next morning, I went to a bar I’d seen just a kilometre up the road, and sank a few Cuca
-beers with a local rap band called “the Playaz”, who kept referring to every female as a “Beeeatch”. (Thanks black American
rap-stars for doing your part in the gender-equality struggle!).
For some reason I got a strange feeling about my bag, so I headed back towards the bus station and on my way back, the
Boy playing with stick and wheel. Seen thousand and yet thousand times in Africa. I've tried on several occations and never really understood the fun of ot. Maybe because I was so crap.
bus came jolting towards me. I screamed and jumped and managed to stop the bus and get aboard. It was 9:30 in the evening and for some irrational reason, the driver had decided to leave ten and a half hour earlier than planned! Another shocked family came running and managed panting to get aboard the bus, where they, too, already had their luggage waiting.
A few hours into the night we drove off the road and everyone started screaming and panicking inside the bus. The damage wasn’t that bad, all of us just had to get out of the bus and push it back onto the road (well I don’t know what else to call the potholed catastrophe that was supposed to be the road) again. I didn’t mind the two and a half hour break in the middle of the night since I couldn’t sleep anyway. For some reason there was no backrest on my chair so I was fully busy holding onto the interior so that I wouldn't fall over, as the bus twisted and turned in the darkness.
The drunkards screamed and partied throughout the night and in the morning they started feeding the driver with
Keeping me company for a good half an hour, walking along the dusty road south of Lubango.
whiskey so that he eventually passed out too, behind the wheel.
I, the drunkards, and two very big girls then walked for three hours to the next village where they had a bar, and the drunkards managed to fill me up, too.
As the bus later arrived and we joined the rolling disaster, the journey was at least jolly for a few more hours, that was until the engine broke down.
The driver was then grumpy and had a hangover and it was at this point that the rain begun and I think we all suddenly got a hangover as the second night on the road started...
As we eventually arrived in Lubango the following day, the 412km long road had taken us more than 32 hours to complete, that’s about 13km/h and probably the same speed it takes a donkey-cart to do the same stretch.
The heavy rains had finally reached Lubango and the roads were flooded. I walked around in the heavy rain for some time until a Portuguese family pitied me and offered me a bed for the night, cooked me a full meal, and then the seven kids of the family sang home-written
Kids playing on the hot streets of Namibe'.
Christian songs for me until I fell asleep. -Amen.
The next morning I started hitching for real;
A doctor, a teacher, construction workers and factory workers, I even got a free ride with the public transport as I passed small villages and forlorn towns on my mission of heading south with anything that moved. Whenever I couldn’t find a ride I would just walk, and this I did a lot.
For hours and hours I would walk listening to the sound of the surrounding forest. Sometimes small children would accompany me, other times hunters or men working in the fields, or women carrying water from the wells or collecting firewood on the roadsides, they would walk along with me for some time, and yet other times, I would walk alone again.
I stopped in small villages to fill up water, always causing a scene. (The sight of a lone white man walking through their village must have been quite a sight.)
Eventually I got back to Xangongo
We were a small group of people that were dropped off 10km outside of town at 2a.m. since the driver was drunk and scared of being arrested
In the background, the famous Christu Rei can be seen. It's a smaller copy of the Jesus statue towering over Rio de Janeiro. Lubango
at the military checkpoint on the road just before town. After about two hours of night trekking we entered town and had a rather late dinner with some soldiers before we passed out on the ground. An hour later, my temporary travelling companion woke me up and said he’d found a new ride, and a couple of dreary hours later I was back at the Santa Clara
border, this time far less intimidated by Angola
Later that evening I’d managed to get all the way down to Windhoek
. Now Windhoek felt like a well stocked metropolis, and it was, in comparison to anything I’d seen in Angola.
A group of Rastafarians took me to the big township Katutura
There was an all-night reggae concert and a midnight netball competition for the girls which was eagerly followed by a 300-400 big and drunk, male only crowd.
The Rastafarians disappeared and I met some (supposedly) famous rapper (at least that was what he himself and his friends told me) who referred to Katutura as the “ghetto” and stressed the importance of taking me safe back home.
The next morning I was back on the road again.
With his finger slowly squeezing the trigger.
I stood waiting along the road outside one of the southern suburbs for an hour or so before a young man stopped in his bakkie. He was friendly and outgoing and after chatting for an hour he invited me to stay for the weekend with his family at their gamefarm in the Kalahari
. Even though I really wanted to get straight down to Aili in Cape Town, I couldn’t reject such a generous offer so I spent two sunny days at the red dunes of Cowdray
, going on my first ever game drive and on a hunt for Springbok
, and I found out that a dead Springbok strangely enough, smells like really sweet fudge. The young man then took me back to Windhoek, and the next morning I was back at the very same spot where he’d picked me up. I hadn’t moved a metre closer towards Cape Town, but I ‘d had two great days experiencing Namibian hospitality, I had got the nickname “Carl Gustaf
”, and almost, almost seen the traditional Maori
Haka-dance performed by a group of Kiwis
Three hours passed with loads of cars refusing to pick me up until suddenly a black hearse stopped. At
post hunting pose'.
first I felt a bit reluctant, ice I’d only planned ride a hearse once, and then in a more post mortem stance, but after all it was a ride being offered.
The undertaker of Rehoboth
was very passionate about his work and with intricate detail he explained the art of preserving dead bodies and the difficulty of dealing with road kills.
From Rehoboth to Marienthal
I had a Cape-Coloured truck driver explain to me the importance of being unfaithful when in wedlock and for the last 1000km I had a specialist on psychotropic plants describe for me the trial and error process of psychedelics.
Then I was back.
Fatigued, but a little wiser.
Smellier, but a lot happier.
I was back in Ape Town
There are more photos below