After a 22 hour drive from Namibia to South Africa, several members of the Namibian delegation who drove by car to the third annual Gender Justice and Local Government Summit got lost and caused a mini roadblock on a busy street in Johannesburg.
"We tried to get help from a service station and they told us about a lot of turns, which got us more confused. Luckily, for us, the police happened to pass by and we stopped them. They led us all the way here (to the Koponang)," explained Councillor Fiina Elago from Reetmanshop Municipality.
The team of three female Councillors and Joseph Apollos, an officer at Reetmanshop Municipality jumped in a sedan borrowed from the Mayor and headed for South Africa at 1 pm Namibian time on Saturday (April 22). The road trip turned into an adventure as the travellers braved heavy rains and a tyre burst.
"We got really scared because it was late at night and we were not familiar with the environment. Adding salt to the injury was the fact that it was raining heavily throughout the whole journey. However, we managed to pull ourselves together and replaced the tyre with the only spare that we had," said Councillor Magarette Snewe.
When the councillors got to Vryburg in the Northwest Province in South Africa, they decided to be cautious and bought four new tyres. "We replaced all the tyres on the Mayor's car so we hope that he will not be cross with us," Snewe said.
Although Apollos designated himself as the driver, Councillor Elago said she would have gladly taken the wheel. "I am used to driving in and out of South Africa on a regular basis so I would have helped, but he didn't ask," Elago said sardonically.
Tyre burst, bad weather and police escort aside, the Councillors agreed that the road trip was an exciting experience as some of them were coming to South Africa by road for the first time.
"I was hoping to do a lot of sightseeing since it was my first time to come to South Africa by road. The bad weather spoiled what could have been an exhilarating expedition, but it was still an exciting journey, nonetheless," Snewe said.
Winile Mavuso is journalist with Swazi Observer in Swaziland. This article is part of GL Opinion and Commentary Service, special news and analysis on the 2012 Gender Justice and Local Government Summit.