A Little Recap
Here are 23 minutes that will give you an impression of the trip from Cairo to Cape Town:
If that’s too long for you, here is a very quick ride through Africa:
The Cape, Finally
After four months on the road, I finally arrived in Cape Town last week.
What was it like to cross Africa? It’s hard to give a short answer to that. My colleague Asumpta Lattus from DW’s AfricaLink asked me to do just that. Listen to the interview!
What will I remember? Certainly meeting many great people along the way. Such as Marc Anthony whom I met just out of Bethanie in Namibia. He claimed to be a better salsa singer than the US-American Grammy winner who goes by the same name. Which wasn’t true. And he was carrying a floor pump on his bike, freely sharing it with other cyclists. Which was very nice. And he also didn’t mind me forcing a sticker upon him advertising DW’s show that brings you news and background reports on Africa in English. Which I did to many people along the way.
What stunned me the most? The beautiful landscapes I saw, for sure. But also the wide mobile network coverage that I hadn’t expected. I must’ve passed hundreds of phone masts along the way. This enabled me to stay connected to my colleagues at DW and to family and friends.
I’ve now put my German SIM card back into the phone, being back home in Bonn. But I am currently editing a little video about the trip – so please come back for more!
A Mile With… Chapumbo, The Team Leader
Chapumbo Sekin works as a team leader on the grape farms in Aussenkehr, at the banks of the Orange River in the South of Namibia. I passed the farms and the workers’ village next to it on a Saturday, when Sekin and his colleagues had a day off. The grapes grow especially well in this area, Sekin told me, and they ripe long before the grapes farther south in neighboring South Africa. A good part of the harvest, which starts around November, is exported to Europe. Sekin told me to have a good look at the living conditions of the workers there and think about them when eating grapes back home in Germany. He says that a seasonal worker earns about nine Euros per day picking grapes. Union representatives have long called for the farm owners to erect more suitable houses for their workers, but nothing has happened as of yet.
A Mile With… Chris, The Village Council Leader
People leave their villages and go away to live in town. It is an old story – and it is still a big movement. The United Nations say that Africa’s urban population will more than double until 2050. This is also due to high birth rates in cities – and there is a good side to that, as education and public services are more reachable in cities. But for the rural areas that people leave, providing services such as schools, hospitals and roads gets harder.
In Namibia, the latest census shows a growing level of urbanization, too. Chris Murangi doesn’t like that. He is Chief Executive Officer of the Village Council in Witvlei, a settlement of roughly 3000 people in Namibia’s Omaheke region. When I stopped in Witvlei in windy weather, he told me about rural flight and what it means for his village.
A Mile With… Abel, The Trader
Zimbabwe was once considered the bread basket of Southern Africa. It has however been plagued by food deficits as a result of drought, poor planning and failed agricultural policies since the year 2000. This year, Zimbabwe is facing a grain deficit again and has become highly dependent on imports. It has already imported about 120.000 tons of maize from its neighbor Zambia this year, the Zambian Food Reserve Agency says, thus having become its major buyer.
The export of grain and other foodstuffs does not only happen on the large scale. Many small traders try to make a living from crossing the border between the two countries. I met Zambian Abel Chanda Mulenga at the border post close to the town of Victoria Falls where he told me about his business.
Please excuse the rather low picture quality of the video – I used a very small camera for this.