Porschist Magazine 55 - Zimbabwe

Page 1

Magazine for Porsche enthusiasts • year 14 • quarterly • September/October 2018 • 55

PORSCHE 911 SPEEDSTER

PORSCHE IN ZIMBABWE VERTICAL MOBILITY


TRAVELPORSCHIST

2


Scintillating Zimbabwe is a hidden African gem. The country is not as prominent on the tourist map as South Africa, Kenya or Tanzania, but is therefore the safari country par excellence to discover in peace. From the ancient rock formations in the Matobo Hills, the vast savannahs in Hwange, the famous Victoria Falls, the beauty of the Zambezi River, not to mention the numerous close encounters with large and small game: Zimbabwe captivates in all its facets.

text: kathleen van bremdt - photos: kathleen van bremdt & sven hoyaux

3


TRAVELPORSCHIST TO GO OR NOT NOT TO GO … Wednesday, November 15, 2017: something is afoot in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. What it is exactly isn’t quite clear yet, but apparently the army has seized power. Sources report that armoured vehicles are blocking access roads to the main government offices, parliament and all other strategic places in Harare and that thousands of Zimbabweans have taken to the streets to demand the departure of President Mugabe. There are two airline tickets in front of us. Destination: Harare. Departure date: tomorrow. To go or not to go ... The itinerary is tempting. And the Porsche man is waiting for us. A quick glance at each other is all we need: we're going! On arrival in Harare - the capital of Zimbabwe - it doesn’t really come across as a beleaguered city. There may be some more militia in the streets than there would normally be, but apart from that, life seems to be mostly routine. This is also confirmed by the owner of the Armadale Lodge in a suburb of Harare, where we spend our first night on Zimbabwean soil. “I am glad that something has been done. Mugabe has been in power for far too long, he is corrupt and has made Zimbabwe one of the poorest countries in the world. He may not have realised it yet, but his time is definitely over. Mark my words”. In the meantime, we have found out that a military coup had taken place just before our departure and that the army has placed Mugabe under house arrest. However, the elderly Mugabe (93) has already made it very clear that he does not intend to step aside. We are wondering how this power struggle will develop.

4 MUGABE: ONCE ADMIRED, THEN FEARED AND REVILED When one thinks of Zimbabwe, one automatically thinks of Mugabe, and vice versa. Robert Mugabe is the only political leader the country has known since its independence in 1980. Then, during that period of freedom and joy, Mugabe was a Zimbabwean version of Nelson Mandela because of his past as a resistance fighter against the colonial British regime and his subsequent policy of reconciliation. That image completely reversed when Mugabe suddenly started a campaign against the white farmers at the end of the last century and forcibly drove them out of the country. In addition, his initially moderate policy became a reign of terror. For decades, Mugabe acted like a real dictator who would not tolerate contradiction and suppressed of all his opponents. "Only God can relieve me from my position," was his best-known statement.

WHERE IS ZIMBABWE? First of all, let’s take a look at the map. Zimbabwe is located in Southern Africa. With an area of 391,000 km² it is a small country by African standards, even though it is fully twelve times as large as Belgium. Across Zimbabwe, the Central Highlands run from east to west. Zimbabwe is largely located on this 1500-metre high plateau. The country has no access to the sea, but is completely enclosed by other countries and is for the most part separated from its neighbours by natural boundaries: the Zambezi River forms the border with Zambia in the north, the Limpopo the border with South Africa in the south, while the Eastern Highlands mark the border with Mozambique in the east and the Hwange National Park borders on Botswana in the west.


5

'Balancing Rocks' of Matobo.


TRAVELPORSCHIST

BULAWAYO: NEARLY GOING HOME AGAIN! Bulawayo (pronounced boe-la-wée-joo) is the second largest town in Zimbabwe and can be found some 400 kilometres from Harare. The road is in pretty good condition and the green landscape of the Central Highlands glides past us at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour. Bulawayo itself doesn’t have a lot to offer in our eyes, but is of crucial importance for our reporting because this is where the man with the Porsche lives. Our 'main guest' arrives in our hotel early in the morning in good spirits. "A tiny problem," says Gerrit, "my Porsche doesn’t work right now, but I have put on a T-shirt with a Porsche and put on a Porsche cap, that should be fine for the photo shoot, shouldn’t it?" We look at him in bewilderment. This must surely be a joke. No Porsche means no story. Gerrit does not understand our shocked reaction. We show him a copy of Porschist and explain to him exactly what we want. (We had already made it clear to him in a long email, but apparently, he hadn’t received that.)

6

Meanwhile, it starts to dawn on Gerrit that we are not dealing with a small but a big problem. “Just a moment”, he says, “we are going to solve this” and he starts to make some phone calls. In Bulawayo everyone apparently knows everyone else. In the end, Darren - a good friend of Gerrit and an equally big Porsche fan - is the saviour. Two hours later, he is sitting down at the table with us. We would love an image of the Porsche in the impressive Matobo Hills that are located some 55 kilometres southwest of Bulawayo, but hardly dare suggest this mad idea. However, Darren is immediately very enthusiastic. That he has to put his Porsche on a trailer in order to get there, is not a problem to him. We manage to take the most beautiful photos the next day at dawn. The Boxster stands like an ever-alert armour-plated animal among the ancient rocks. Its bright red colour shines out. After all, a leader is not afraid to stand out

ROCKING MATOBO NATIONAL PARK The landscape of Matobo is extremely impressive. Here, the oldest rock formations of the world peep out between forested slopes and green-yellow grass valleys. Geological research has shown that this landscape was formed about three billion years ago. The characteristic granite hills are called 'kopjes' (little heads) - a linguistic remnant from the time of the colonial farmers. Numerous massive monoliths and enormous boulders rest on them. Many of them seem to be placed in almost impossible ways. The name 'balancing rocks' seems well chosen. It takes very little imagination to see animals or faces in the sculpted shapes. Here and there they remind us of the famous statues on Easter Island, except that the stone giants here have not been created through rigorous human efforts, but through the unrivalled powers of nature.


7

Age-old murals from the Bushmen.


TRAVELPORSCHIST

8

Cecil Rhodes played a key role in the Scramble for Africa, but was also a controversial figure.


SMALL IN STATURE, BUT OF GREAT IMPORTANCE Once this area was the habitat of the Bushmen of the San. Proof of this are the many rock paintings and inscriptions they left behind. It is hard to believe that they are already 40,000 years old. They are amazingly fine and detailed drawings. Elephants, giraffes, antelopes and hunting San ... every image is perfectly recognisable. It is a shame that the history of the San is not as beautiful as their paintings. Over the centuries, they were chased from their lands by other tribes, despite their sharp spears and poisonous arrows. The British, the Germans and the Farmers also shamelessly took possession of their hunting and living areas and relegated the San to second-class people. Now most of them live in 'settlements' that have been assigned to them by the government. Here they live in poverty and they all too often take refuge in booze and intoxicating substances to forget what it was like when they were the lords and masters in the land of their ancestors.

R.I.P CECIL JOHN RHODES

Tomb of Cecil John Rhodes.

Matobo's rocky hills possess a rugged and timeless beauty and it isn’t difficult to understand why this region has a great spiritual and cultural significance for the local population. You get the most impressive view of the fantastic landscape from the Malindidzimu hill. Cecil Rhodes named this place 'View of the World'. The founder of the British colony of Rhodesia - the current Zimbabwe - was so impressed by the magic of the place that he wanted to be buried there, a wish that was granted in 1902. At the top of the hill, glittering in the midday sun, rests his memorial plaque with the simple inscription: Here lie the remains of Cecil John Rhodes. Cecil Rhodes played a key role in the Scramble for Africa, but was also a controversial figure. To some he is the great man of British colonialism in Southern Africa, to others the racist father of the apartheid regime. Both are true.

9


TRAVELPORSCHIST

10

A rock-room in Amalinda Lodge.


11

A view on Matobo Hills.

AMALINDA LODGE: ONE WITH THE ROCK From a distance, you have to look carefully to discover the lodge, because the 9 rooms are completely integrated into the rock walls. Nothing was cut away or altered, the hollow spaces between the immense boulders were simply cleverly used. Because of that, the rooms all have an unusual shape. Our cave room is no less than five metres high. The bed with white mosquito netting around it looks tiny in this somewhat ghostly cave. But there is certainly no lack of comfort. Although we do have to squeeze through a narrow area to get to the adjoining bathroom. This is really the most special place we have ever spent the night. We settle into the pleasant lounge with leather armchairs and teak furniture and chat with Billy, the lodge manager, about the special life in Matobo.


12


PORSCHISTTRAVEL A WALK THROUGH THE WILDERNESS We leave the SUV and continue on foot. A walking safari is a special experience. The very idea that we may stand face to face with a predator at any moment raises our adrenaline levels. Lions and elephants are of course the animals that we especially fear, but in reality, the buffalo and the rhinoceros are much more dangerous. We manage to come across the latter on our trek. Four white rhinos are grazing quietly: father, mother and two calves. With their prehistoric appearance, these colossal animals are impressive. Our guide wants to find the best place for us to take photos, but moves so quickly through the tall grass that we cannot keep up with him. We’re not too pleased about that, because he has a shotgun and we do not. We can tell from the behaviour of the animals that they have noticed us. “A rhinoceros is very near-sighted, you have to take advantage of that”, our guide had advised us when we set off. “If the beast runs at you, stand still and only step aside at the last moment. Because of his large mass he cannot stop immediately, and he will continue on for some distance, which gives you time to find a safe place.” Good to know, but we are not so sure if we will be able to show quite so much coolness if the times comes. However, the animals do not seem to be bothered by us and we click away.

With its prehistoric appearance, the colossal rhinoceros is really impressive.

HWANGE NATIONAL PARK If you dream of an Africa with wide plains and wide horizons where elephants and buffaloes roam around in large numbers and giraffes nibble stoically on acacias, then the Hwange National Park is the place for you. Hwange is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe. The elephants are already waiting for us. At the Somalisa Lodge, a watering hole provides the animals with their daily opportunity to stock up on water. Reclining on a lazy lounger and at a distance of barely two meters, we enjoy the spectacle. This includes the occasional free shower. With their trunks, the animals suck up the water and then spray it into their wide mouths. The adult animals can store eighty to one hundred litres. We can literally hear the water sloshing in their stomachs.

13


14


PORSCHISTTRAVEL

CECIL STILL LIVES ON IN THE MEMORY... During the morning game drive, we spot a lioness with a collar. This requires some explanation. The lioness is the oldest female from Cecil's family - you might remember him - the famous lion who was shot down by an American dentist in 2015 just for the adrenalin kick. Michael, our guide, is still struggling to come to terms with that. "Cecil, with his beautiful, dark mane, was the national pride of Zimbabwe. The poachers lured him from the park with food, wounded him with a crossbow and then chased him for more than forty hours. The reason we know that exactly is because a research team from the University of Oxford had been following Cecil for years and he was wearing a GPS tracker. Eventually he was killed with a firearm”. We remember that the brutal slaughter was in all the newspapers and generated a worldwide wave of outrage. The lion killer in question, Walter Palmer, was, by the way, himself hunted for a short time. “That international support was good,” Michael continues, “but I do not have any illusions. As long as people are prepared to kill the representative of an endangered species for their own glory, hobby hunting will continue. I cannot get my head around how someone can enjoy slaughtering a predator, but trophy hunting is a tough business in which big money can be made”. Meanwhile, the ups and downs of Cecil's family are closely monitored. After Cecil’s death, the pride left the area for a while to hunt smaller game elsewhere, but last year the oldest lioness admitted another adult male to the pride and it returned to its home ground, to the great delight of the Hwange rangers. Let us hope that a beautiful and peaceful future awaits them.

15


TRAVELPORSCHIST

16


A LODGE WITHOUT EQUAL We continue further north. Hidden under the leafy trees on the waterfront of the Zambezi River, we find the most luxurious resort of our safari. The &Beyond Matetsi River Lodge is clearly in a different class. Everything exudes elegance and tradition. The beautiful suites have room-wide sliding doors which means we don’t have to miss an inch of the breathtaking view of the stream. We completely relax in the stylish interior. We are actually assigned a personal butler, Christian, who, as he himself says, is available day and night. Wow ... In the restaurant we can, if we wish, sit in a covered area, but the few tables near the riverbank with romantic candlelight are too tempting. And when the food turns out to be pure haute cuisine and the wine caresses our taste buds, you will understand this becomes a moment of absolute bliss.

17


TRAVELPORSCHIST

18

Zambezi Queen.

Observing the wild animals from a river boat is a great experience.


19

A HOME FROM HOME ON THE WATER There are always new ways to discover a country. For further exploration of the beauty of our surrounding nature, we board the Zambezi Queen, a luxurious river boat that will transport us along the mighty Chobe River for three days. The flat- bottom vessel has just 14 cabins. The small scale is one of the assets of the ship. We get to know the other guests who seem to come from all corners of the world and everyone gets on straight away. From the outside, the ship looks like a white block-like structure, but inside it is surprisingly spacious and tastefully decorated in those typical light safari tints that have become so familiar to us now.


TRAVELPORSCHIST

20

FLOATING DISCOVERIES The special thing about a river safari is that nature can be seen from a completely different perspective. With the tenders or dinghy’s we can get very close to the animals that are on the banks, in almost complete silence. One animal is inextricably linked with Chobe: the elephant. We see literally hundreds of elephants descending to the waterside together. Life on the large grass plains here is easier for them than it would be in the bush. They don’t have to go in search of a poor mud pool with barely any water in it, but have a river that generously supplies them with their daily water needs. Zebras and sable antelopes mingle in-between them. Chobe is also a true paradise for birdwatchers. During a game drive everything moves too quickly to see them properly, but from the water we get every chance. We do not know most by name, but we recognise the large marabou and egrets that wade side by side through the water. They are a remarkable combination: the always elegant egret with its elegant s-shaped neck and muscular white plumage versus the stocky, jet-black marabou with its ugly, bald head and dangling throat pouch. Even though beauty is also a relative concept in the animal world.


21

Waking crocodile in Chobe-river.

And the crocodiles? They lie lazily snoozing on the waterfront, their tails half in the water. We have to look carefully to discover them, because their protective colours mean you can easily confuse them with a tree stump or a piece of driftwood and that could cause unwanted surprises. Cunningly, crocodiles approach their prey secretly under water and then attack without mercy. Nevertheless, the chance of being attacked by a crocodile is pretty small. We learn that the animal does not eat that often. A young springbok in its stomach will keep it satisfied for quite some time. Things are different when it comes to the hippopotamus, the ruler of the river. This seemingly good-natured fatty causes most of the fatal accidents among tourists. A cross hippo, disturbed in his activities, can attack without compassion. We see some heads gleaming above the water and keep an eye on them – forewarned is forearmed.


TRAVELPORSCHIST

CHOBE NATIONAL PARK: A TRUE GAME WALHALLA Hendry, the sympathetic South African who knowledgeably runs the boat, has arranged something extra for us: a jeep safari in the Chobe National Park. That is of course actually on Botswana territory, but we think we should be allowed that little detour. Because Chobe is a very special nature area. It isn’t fenced anywhere, so the animals can go where they want. And they do that, in large numbers. We saw many species of animals during our trip, but nowhere did we see them in such large groups. More than 150 impalas make their way through the grass in a long line, every movement as graceful as the next. Only one male trudges along in the group. If you see how many females and youngsters the group contains, it is clear that he has been seriously active. But he has to be, because he can be overthrown by another male in a matter of moments.

22

Further ahead, a whole bunch of buffaloes is waiting motionless in the mud for ... yes, for what? The colossal beasts, with a shoulder height of 1.4 metres and striking, curled horns look at us dumbly. Baboons want our attention and run in front of and alongside the jeep. Time and time again we are amazed at how human their actions are. Resting under the Mopane trees, we find a large family of lions. The little cubs are extremely cute. There is nothing to suggest yet that they are predators and will soon be chasing after those lovely impala's. The midday heat means that we can approach them up to 1.5 metres without problems. The male must be somewhere nearby, but does not show himself. Impressed by the nature book in which we were allowed to browse again, we return to the boat. The trip was more than worth it. In the evening we enjoy a fantastic sunset, complete with a cocktail in our hand. A local fishing boat is silhouetted darkly against the bright red glow of the evening. An inspiring sign hangs on board: 'On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.' We have found one of those pieces. Following the rhythm of life on the river for three days makes a person feel great.



TRAVELPORSCHIST

THE VICTORIA WATERFALLS: UNEQUALLED FORCE OF WATER

24

From afar, we can already hear the noise of the water and see the rising water spray. We are drawn to it as if to a magnet. The seventh wonder of the world is the widest waterfall in the world and is formed by the Zambezi River which fiercely drops down into the Bakota Gorge, 100 metres further down. Every second, millions of litres of water flow down and that is accompanied by a deafening roar. Due to the turbulent power, the splashing water mist rises some three hundred meters upwards. It is therefore not difficult to find out why the locals call the Victoria Falls 'Mosioa-Tunya' (literally translated: the smoke that thunders). The white curtain of water is veined with ochre yellow stripes from the sandstone that is dragged along in its wake. Often, beautiful rainbows are an extra bonus. From a helicopter, the view is even more sensational, because it allows us to get the entire 1700 metres of waterfall into the picture. From the air we notice something else: a black Porsche Cayenne. We manage to persuade the owner to let us take a picture of his Porsche at the Victoria Falls Hotel. Two icons together.

The Victoria Falls: the smoke that thunders. The famous British explorer David Livingstone was the first white man to see these impressive waterfalls. He was so impressed by the natural phenomenon that he waxed lyrical and wrote in his diary: No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight. For once he departed from his custom to use the local name, and named the falls after the then Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria.


25

The impressive Victoria Falls.


26


PORSCHISTTRAVEL

VICTORIA FALLS HOTEL: AN ETERNALLY YOUNG LADY The hotel in which we reside also bears the name of the Queen and is just as famous as the waterfalls. The old-colonial style hotel has been here for more than a hundred years and has not lost any of its charm and style. Just from the brilliant white façade and the way Duly, the head porter, welcomes us, we can feel that this is not just a hotel, but an experience. The majestic residence is surrounded by lush, tropical gardens and is only a stone's throw away from the waterfalls. The interior is sublime with its dark hardwood furniture, large club chairs, paintings in ornate, golden frames and tall palm trees that bring the exotic nature inside. In our room, the atmosphere of the British colonial era is still just as tangible. We freshen up in a bathroom with a black and white tiled floor and silver taps with porcelain tips and sleep in a four-poster bed under firmly starched white sheets and with our heads on blissfully bouncy pillows. Really nothing diminishes the grandeur of this iconic hotel where, through the ages, countless celebrities and dignitaries have strolled through the corridors that smell of bee’s wax or installed themselves on the Stanley terrace for a traditional afternoon tea with friends or family. That high tea is still served by the way, and we make sure we sample it. Although the guests may not be as elegantly dressed as before, the English may not sound quite so 'upper class' and the general atmosphere may be more informal, ‘The Grand Old Lady of the Falls' as she is also called, still lives up to her nickname.

The Victoria Falls Hotel: 'The Grand Old Lady of the Falls'.

27


TRAVELPORSCHIST

HOW HAS THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE DEVELOPED IN THE MEAN TIME? In the jungle, a person is not concerned with political issues, but now that we are back in the civilised world, we want to know how things are progressing in Zimbabwe, two weeks after the coup. President Mugabe did eventually resign and received a ‘golden handshake’ worth several millions. Former Vice President Mnangagwa - who had only recently been expelled from the government to pave the way for Mugabe's young wife, 'Gucci' Grace - is now in charge. We wonder right away whether that change of power will put the country into a better position, because Mnangagwa was for many years a loyal supporter of Mugabe and those who lay down with dogs…. He also has blood on his hands. Just ask the Ndebele people who were brutally oppressed in the 1980s, when Mnangagwa was Minister of State Security. Optimists will say that Mnangagwa, who has become rich from diamond exploitation, realises only too well how bad things are in the bankrupt country, and that he will do what he can to get it back on its feet. Only time will tell.

28


www.ethiopianairlines.com et.be@kales.com


AFRICA, OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

Great Plains Conservation has opened 1,200 square kilometres of pristine wildlife habitat in the private Sapi Reserve with a six night Greater Mana Expedition exploring the wildlife and habitats of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whilst in the Zambezi National Park, 18kms upstream from Victoria Falls, the new Mpala Jena Camp offers the very finest accommodation and experiences in the region.


PORSCHISTTRAVEL

A HEAVENLY FINISH It is our last evening, and we are looking back on our experiences in Zimbabwe, that hidden African pearl (fortunately) not yet discovered by mass tourism. The country is blessed with a stunning natural beauty, an unparalleled animal kingdom and extremely charming people with their ubiquitous bursts of laughter. We sit between the tall plane trees at the back of the Victoria Falls Hotel and gaze at the sparkling starry sky. Even in the dark, we see the water mist rising above the Victoria Gorge in the distance. If there are any angels, we know for sure that they Kariba will still be amazed by the natural beauty of the Mhangura waterfalls as they float by in their heavenly flight. Bindura Chinhoyi

Harare

Victoria Falls Chegutu Hwange

Marondera

Kamativi

Zimbabwe Kwekwe Mutare Shurugwi Gweru Masvingo

Bulawayo Zvishavane

Chiredzi

GENERAL INFORMATION ZIMBABWE Area: 390,757 sq km Population: 16,5 million inhabitants Capital: Harare Government: Unitary presidential republic Official languages: 16 among which Shona, Sindebele and English Time zone: no time difference in summertime, during wintertime it is 1 hour later in Zimbabwe Travel documents: international passport and visum required With special thanks to: - Vera Van Steenvoort ( Advalorem Travel Designer, +32 3 324 27 10) - Martine Verschoren (Director Kales Airlines Services, Ethiopian Airlines) - Darren Pragji and Gerrit Rademeyer (Porsche owners in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) - Accomodations in Zimbabwe: Armadale Lodge, Banff Lodge, Somalisa Camp, Amalinda Lodge, &Beyond Matetsi River Lodge - Giulio Togni (General Manager Victoria Falls Hotel) - Hendry Kinnear (Assistant Manager Zambezi Queen) - Louis Chitolo (Porsche owner in Victoria Falls)

31


INTERVIEWPORSCHIST

"We make a plan" Interview with Darren Pragji

32

Darren is a man who - once you've met him - will forever have a place in your heart. A solid man, as strong as the rocky hills of Matobo. A man who knows what it is like to not have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but who has worked hard to get where he is today. A self-made man pur sang. Proud of what he - together with his team, because he insists on that continuously has achieved. Proud also of his teenage son Dylan who is the spitting image of his father and loves cars as much as he does. Darren’s answer to every problem is invariably: 'We make a plan'. It is thanks to his bold and decisive approach that we succeeded in positioning a Porsche in the beautiful setting of the Matobo Hills.

Were you born and raised in Bulawayo? Yes. I run a Bodyshop: Stylin Auto. We repair and respray cars of any model. In addition, we spend a lot of time on car styling. We achieve very nice results with that. You own a beautiful Porsche Boxster. Is that your favourite Porsche model? Well, when you live in Zimbabwe, you actually have little choice when it comes to Porsches, but I think my Porsche Boxster is just a 'supercar'. It is a phenomenal car, a model dating from 1970. The sound that it produces ... no other car can come close to that. I know the previous owner very well. He bought the car in 1997 in Germany, shipped it to South Africa and then drove it to Zimbabwe personally. I thought it was such a beautiful car and asked him regularly if he did not want to sell it. When he finally agreed, it was like a dream come true. I still cannot believe that I am in fact the owner of a Porsche. Do you drive it a lot? Certainly! Especially at the weekends. On Sundays, I go for long journeys in the surrounding area with my son Dylan. These are our regular Sunday trips. My son loves the car as much as I do.


33

A Porsche in front of the unique decor of the Matobo Hills.

It was a great achievement to bring the Porsche all the way to the heart of the Matobo Hills the way you did. You did absolutely everything to realise our madcap idea. Why did you put so much effort into it? When Gerrit called me and said he had a problem because his Porsche was off the road and people from Belgium had travelled to Bulawayo especially for a photo shoot, I thought it was the right thing to do to jump straight into the breach. I saw your drive and how you were keen to deliver that one, strong image: the Porsche in the imposing landscape of Matobo. I understood that commitment. If you are going to do something, you want to do it right. I immediately called all the men in my studio and said: Come on, we're going to help those people. We considered the various options and then decided to put the Porsche on a trailer. The road to Matobo is just too bad for a Porsche. You noticed yourself how difficult it is to drive over such a rocky surface. That requires a more robust form of transport. Besides, it was also an excellent opportunity for me to get an exceptional photo of my dream car. When my friends see the photo, they will all be seriously jealous. (laughs warmly)


INTERVIEWPORSCHIST

Why this passion for a Porsche? A Porsche is just a fantastic car: the way it looks, the way it sounds, the way it hugs the road... Porsche is without doubt the ultimate car brand. Is there in fact a Porsche-dealer in Zimbabwe? No, if the car develops a defect that I really cannot repair myself, then the car has to go to the dealer in Johannesburg in South Africa, about 900 km from here. Do you happen to know how many Porsches there are in Bulawao? I think there are three: a Targa, a 364 Spyder and my Boxster. The country has been through some turbulent days with Mugabe's disappearance from the political scene and the arrival of a new government, hasn’t it? Yes, that's right, but we don’t involve ourselves too much with politics. This applies to most Zimbabweans. We are all busy leading our own lives and try to make the best of it. Let the politicians do their work, and we do ours. We live our lives and are happy. I am busy with my passion, my cars, so I have nothing to complain about. The less we have to deal with politics, the better.

34

It is something we have come across a few times before, that people are not interested in politics. Why is that? Because politics don’t change anything. We have been living in difficult times for 37 years now and will probably continue to do so for a while longer. We know there are times when the racks in the supermarkets are empty, or when there is no electricity. But that doesn’t make us unhappy people. When there is no electricity, we simply set up a generator and use that. We really don’t worry about that anymore. There is a solution for everything. We make a plan and carry on. As long as you continue to think positively, you can be happy. The more you possess, the more you have to worry about and the more stress you have. Lay back and enjoy, with that mindset you achieve most in this country. Your optimism is incredible. We Belgians can learn something from that. Ah, we have already seen so much in Zimbabwe. Our country is bankrupt, our money is worthless. For more than five years, we had no petrol. We had to go to Botswana or South Africa to buy it there. We even had to cross the border for a while to buy food. If there was no money to let the children go to school, we would pay with petrol or with services. In Zimbabwe, every day is a challenge and we constantly improvise. But, and that is what makes us so strong, Zimbabweans never let anyone down. We help each other, always and everywhere. If we had to go across the border to get food, we immediately bought some for our neighbours, our friends and our staff. That's what we do. Our experience with you yesterday is actually a good example of this. Yes indeed. I didn’t know you from Adam, but I heard that there was a problem and came to the rescue. That's how it goes. And of course, we had the time of our lives! That is a fact. Darren, you are a great guy. It was a real pleasure to get to know you and we are sincerely grateful for your selfless cooperation.


35


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.