Joel Manjoko

Addo, South Africa

2010 / 12 / 18 19:28

‘It was like three years ago, I left Zimbabwe in search of employment, like everyone else I’m sure every Zimbabwean that you meet has been telling you the same story. So I was searching… I was looking for a job in Johannesburg - just on the internet, searching, and after three days or so I found a job here. I did a telephone interview… and then I didn’t even know about the existence of Addo. I thought Addo was somewhere near Johannesburg or something like that. About fourteen hours on the bus and then ended up this side! And then I even brought my wife here, who was then my girlfriend… In Zimbabwe, yes, in Zimbabwe I also did some cycling. But it wasn’t really much of like professional kind of cycling - it was like just waiting for those annual events from the small village where I come from. And I rode for transport, just convenience. Point A to point B… And still now, I mean like since I came into Addo, I don’t have a car. I don’t own a car… All I’ve been doing is cycling and it has even showed me all the highs and lows of racing. Ooh, this bicycle, it means a lot to me. I’ve noticed, if one does not own a car, especially in South Africa, hitch-hiking is a mission - you can be by the roadside two hours, three hours, hoping to get five kilometers down the road… but with a bike, easily done in ten minutes. You don’t have to worry about anything, just weather-wise, but generally this side, there isn’t much rain. It only rains once in a while but otherwise, it’s all good. I mean, there is some freedom with the bike, you know. You can stop off wherever you want and do whatever you want. But my wife, she doesn’t cycle. That’s why I am putting myself under pressure now. I’ve got the learner’s license. I need to get the driver’s license. And then can drive around because my wife can’t ride a bicycle and she refuses even to go on the bicycle. I can even say, “I can carry you! Can I get a tandem bike?” But she says no, she doesn’t want to. She tells me she once had a little bit of an accident when she was a little child on a bicycle, and then obviously she got a lot of shock from it and even up to now she still doesn’t like the bicycles. Whenever I’m going on the bicycle it’s, “Watch out for traffic on the roads! Watch out for cars!” Watch out for this and that! If it is raining or it happens to be busy here on the road she says “No, no, you can’t go on the bicycle now. It’s getting dark. You can’t go on the bicycle.” You know, so…. I mean… we cannot all be the same, you know.’

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Stan Engelbrecht