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

Updated: 3 days ago

Blog 2: Wednesday 7 February 2024 Still heading west along Namibia’s Caprivi Strip


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.


Caprivi Strip: Map credit: Tracks4Africa


We are moving slowly through the Caprivi Strip heading west and we’ve had quite a few challenges along the way. It always takes a while for an equine to settle in to life on the road, particularly when they’re on their own, and so I’ve had two incidences of my mule for the trip, whom I’ve called Nikao, which means “to overcome” in Biblical Greek, escaping.


I had a farmer friend in Chegutu, whose father – an Afrikaner – used to say that there’s no man who has yet been born who knows the strength of an ox. And certainly, the strength of an ox and the strength of a mule are very comparable. In fact, our neighbour used to plough with 12 mules in one area and with 16 oxen in another section of the farm, so a mule is an incredibly strong animal, remarkably enduring, and it has quite a mind of its own!


And so, if you can harness that strength and wildness, and make the mule do what you want, it’s an incredible force.


Anyway, Nikao has escaped twice, the second time being quite serious. He went a long way, tens of kilometres, and was even jumping fences! Thank God that equine specialist Dr Telané Greyling*, who is accompanying me for this first section of the trip, managed to find some trackers and, within a very short period of time, they ran across Nikao’s tracks and we finally caught him.


Gradually I think he’s becoming more tame! He’s become very loving and I sleep right next to him every night so we’re bonding well. But when a mule decides he’s wild, he’s very difficult to catch!


However, Nikao is a wonderful animal and I am hopeful that, without too many more mishaps, we’ll settle into the road together as there are going to be some very hard stretches!


So, I’m very grateful to have Telané with me at the beginning of the trip. She is the most accomplished and experienced person with horses and mules that I know, so I really appreciate having her support for this first difficult week.


Telané Greyling with Nikao


*Dr Telané Greyling is a zoologist, rider, and expert on the Namibian desert horses, believed to be the only herd of feral horses left in Africa. Telané has spent a lifetime studying these remarkable wild horses and other wildlife. She is a co-author of Wild horses in the Namiba Desert: an equine biography.


Our progress to date from Mount Carmel farm in Zimbabwe and into Namibia’s Caprivi Strip:

 8 February 2024


To read the introduction and objectives of my “Long Ride for Justice”, as well as my regular blogs, click HERE 


My sincere thanks to you all and I’ll keep you posted.


Ben

Ben Freeth

Mobile: +263 773 929 138 (Zimbabwe)

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

 

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.

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