top of page
  • Ben Freeth

“Long Ride for Justice” - Namibia: The second leg of Ben Freeth’s journey


Blog 8: Thursday 7 March 2024


Leaving Okonjima-Sukses – less than 200km from Windhoek


Ben has embarked on this epic ride through western Zimbabwe and west across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, then down to Windhoek to raise awareness of a travesty of justice in Zimbabwe and the subsequent fallout for the entire southern African region. This was the closure of the regional court of justice, the Southern African Development Community’s SADC Tribunal, in 2012. Ben’s objective is to raise the profile of the need to have the SADC Tribunal reopened and to publicly deliver a letter to the SADC Tribunal office in Windhoek, the Namibian capital, as well as to the SADC Secretariat.


Around 2,000km completed so far


The support of the wonderful Namibian children has been so encouraging

 

This “Long Ride for Justice” continues to be just so amazing, almost as though the wave is somehow gathering momentum and getting bigger and creating so much awareness about the importance of justice and the SADC Tribunal being re-established, as well as the importance of protecting property rights.  

 

But the aspect that’s overwhelmed me most is to see how this initiative has brought communities together:  black people and white, town people and farm folk.

 

Everyone knows that what's taken place in Zimbabwe has been awful and wrong. People have suffered because there’s been no justice because the regional court of justice has been closed down and the justice system in Zimbabwe has been captured and has failed the people.  The consequence of not being able to administer justice is that our citizens have been denied the ability to achieve their God-given potential.

 

And so I think this is a time when people can take stock and look at the bigger picture and understand that there is a better way:  that the long arc of history points towards justice and that the ancient paths need to be followed if we are to see nations thrive and communities being lifted out of poverty, with food production taking place and individuals thriving.

 

So I think this ride is highlighting in people's minds these fundamentals, these foundational elements. And I'm feeling really privileged to be riding this wave and knowing God's goodness and provision in the form of food and accommodation and the care that Johnny, my borrowed Namibian farm horse, has received. And through all of this I’m understanding how important it is that love is able to prevail in these circumstances.

 


A welcome roadside picnic

 

I'm also feeling very humbled by the love that I'm receiving from total strangers who stop along the way. For example, I’ll be riding along as I am now, and I’ll have just finished my water bottle and someone will come along and say: “Would you like some water?” And I'll take a new water bottle and they'll take away my old, empty one. I'm finding it absolutely wonderful to experience their care of others. Even lorries hoot in solidarity as they drive past us!

 

It’s also wonderful that everyone can understand the importance of the justice system to protect people and property. And also to protect the future so that there is hope, joy and strength in that hope to build, create and realise the God-given potential in each of us.

 

Johnny enjoying his favourite food

 

Every night and day I’m being looked after so well and so is Johnny. Johan Luttig, who owns Johnny, said to me: “Make sure Johnny still remembers that he's a Namibian farm horse at the end of this!” And Johnny remembers that very well - his favorite food is still just grass. And so as I go along at the moment I'm grazing him very slowly, we’ve come through some very, very dry places.

 

The night before last, I was on a property where they've had just 31 millimetres of rain for the entire season, that's less than an inch and half. This is an area where they should be getting nearly 15 times that amount.

 

So little rain this season, the ground is parched

 

 And so I'm very aware of the hardship that is that is coming and of the cattle and game that are going to die in the months ahead. And I'm aware of how difficult it's going to be for the farmers here, but I'm also just amazed at the resilience of these farmers and how they are making a plan.  

 

The day before yesterday, I prayed with two farmers and it was very special to pray for rain and to pray for them as people and the hardships ahead with the desert-like conditions that prevail. And they both said to me that it's in the hard times that we come closer to God.


Some welcome rain at last

 

And so in essence, they were saying that we take nothing with us, and what is important in life is that we get closer to God. And so if the hard times are necessary in order to bring us closer to God, just to choose to be closer to Him, then the hard times in effect can be used for something great, good and eternal. I found this incredibly humbling.

 

And so I continue on now, with less than 200 kilometres to go to Windhoek. We are moving forward slowly each day, not travelling for such long days now, finding grazing along the way and being supplied with all the water that we need. Just seeing God's provision along the route through these amazing Namibian people is incredible!

 

Bales of donated lucerne for Johnny

 

And so my dream is that we have the children, our future, in Windhoek at the former seat of the SADC Tribunal, carrying the flags of the 16 nations of the Southern African Development Community. And that the children will ride with me into Windhoek on Monday 18 March with the flags for justice, and that their horses will symbolically be justice beneath them.

 

And that they will waive those banners, those flags of all the nations for justice …. and that we will achieve justice with the re-establishment of the SADC Tribunal, with the restoration of property rights and the establishment - for the first time in many instances - of property rights within the region. In this way, our people will be able to thrive and grow as we, together with the children, ride into the future.

 

So this is my dream! Obviously it's a school day and it's going to be difficult to find enough children to be able to ride horses in with me. And so your prayers in that regard would be really appreciated.  


A lone leopard sighting near the railway line

 

A special experience that I would like to share is that as I was riding along with some lovely Namibians, Jorie, who is the son-in-law of Johnny’s owner, and his son, Jorie saw a leopard in the long grass. Then, as we got closer, it suddenly stood up and went across the railway line that we were riding alongside. It was just amazing to see a wild leopard from horseback in broad daylight, so very close. That's something very rare to behold and it was a great gift.

 

And then, where I stayed last night with my very good friend Larry Cummings, we actually saw two leopards, initially a female and then a male at very close quarters. I wasn't on horseback at that point, but it was just such a treat. We so rarely see leopards and so I rejoice to have seen them and so many other special animals as well.

 

Sincere thanks to you all for your support, I so appreciate it.

 

God bless you all.

 

Ben

Ben Freeth

Whatsapp: +44 7539 070 122 – limited mobile phone signal in parts of Namibia

Mobile: +263 773 929 138 (Zimbabwe)

 

Ben Freeth is the executive director of the Mike Campbell Foundation and is based in Zimbabwe.The MCF is taking action to restore human rights, justice, the rule of law and property rights for all in Zimbabwe.


"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

118 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page