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


Blog 9: Saturday 16 March 2024


Reaching Brakwater, just 15km from Windhoek


Ben embarked on this epic ride through western Zimbabwe and west across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip/the Zambezi Region, 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.

 

Route map from Mount Carmel farm across western Zimbabwe

to Brakwater, just 15km from Ben’s destination, Windhoek in Namibia

 

Hello all!

 

After finishing the last ride, apart from one, I felt it would be good to say a few words before many of my supporters are able to join me tomorrow, Sunday 17 March at 5:30pm Namibian/Central African Time when I'll be speaking about my journey on my “Long Ride for Justice” and giving a testimony.

 

What I want to say here is that when I flew into Windhoek after having had a very hard journey through Zimbabwe before Christmas, I drove up with Dr Telané Greyling, a Namibian horse expert, to the north of Namibia and saw en route the drought, the lack of water and the veterinary cordon fences for the first time, and knew it was going to be a really hard ride.


Starting out with Nikao at Ngoma Bridge on 2 February 2024

 

We drove up in the horsebox with a mule who I named “Nikao”, which means “to overcome”, but I felt in myself overcome. I felt overcome by what was to be ahead: by the dryness and the fences, and also by the fact that I would be going through such a dry land with very little water.

 

At that stage I was riding or walking with the mule - but later on with a horse - and it was a really daunting to contemplate the challenging route ahead, especially after the first leg of my Zimbabwean journey, when I lost 10 kilograms of weight and it was really hard going.

 

And I knew in my heart that this was going to be even tougher because of the lack of water and the fences and so I felt overcome. But I took the first step and carried on and on. Eventually I got to the area where there were fences because it was the commercial farming area. And I thought that this was going to be so hard without backup, without support and without a vehicle carrying water.

 

I went through the gate where the veterinary cordon fences are, up north of Grootfontein and was immediately invited to spend the night with a farmer, Duppie du Plessis and his wife and daughter. And I felt their love, and support and it was incredible!

 

Duppie and Andrea du Toit welcome Stardust and me to their farm

 

And then as I continued south, first of all I was given a horse called Stardust to take over from Nikao, and then later on another horse called Johnny to take over from Stardust. And I was given new shoes for Stardust – without charge – and this was followed by more hospitality.

 

Then along the route we were given food and water and shown love and hospitality which was absolutely incredible. And I saw the unity of the people in Namibia and I saw your hearts for justice.


A welcome roadside picnic, with additional food and water for Stardust

 

I saw that there was much that was so good and I felt overcome again. But this time it was a different feeling of being overcome. It was being overcome by your kindness, by your hospitality and your love. I was also overcome by the way that you identified with us in solidarity for what we had all gone through in Zimbabwe.

 

And I knew that I was just a conduit, I was just a Zimbabwean travelling through Namibia, but the love and support that you were showing me was for all Zimbabweans who had gone through similar traumatic experiences to those that we had been subjected to.


Losing our homes, the homes of our workers and everything we had worked so hard for

 

And I would like to take this opportunity before I speak on Sunday evening, before we ride into Windhoek on Monday morning, before we get to the former seat of the SADC Tribunal, to thank each one of you, both in Namibia and beyond.

 

There are numerous countries that are part of this supportive group, I think more than 20, including Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

 

And I would like to thank you all for your love and support, for your belief and your goodness.

Riding in solidarity with you, sent from friends in Marondera, Zimbabwe

 

I would also like to pray for each one of you, that God blesses and empowers you, that you know the joy of each morning, and how great that joy is. And that we may rejoice, because this is the day the Lord has made and we can rejoice and be glad in it. So my thanks to each one of you.

 

Johnny at daybreak

 

Please if you aren’t sure about where to come tomorrow for the talk, it will be at the Role Equestrian Centre in Brakwater at 5 for 5:30pm. Some of you may be staying on for dinner, but please join us, we would love you to join us and to hear the story of this long journey, and a testimony of what has happened along the way.

 

It’s not just the journey of the last two thousand kilometres, it's the journey of the last few decades. So please learn from us, who have been through much in Zimbabwe. Please learn that we have choices with regard to how we handle circumstance, of how we can grow through circumstance and become richer in our hearts, even though those circumstances may be very hard at the time.

 

So please come along tomorrow and to those who are preparing for Monday, it will be wonderful to see you as well. My thanks to all the organisers, you know who you are - there are too many of you to mention right now!  

 

Once again, my sincere thanks to you all and may God bless each one of you.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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