Cyclists re-ignite quest for integration

By Keonee Majoto

CHARLESHILL – The act of cycling through the three member states of the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) complements the wishes of Southern Africa’s founding fathers of a cohesive and more united sub-region that jealously guarded the interests of its people, Minister of Transport and Public Works Mr Eric Molale has said.

He further noted that former presidents, Sir Seretse Khama, Sam Nujoma, Nelson Mandela and Kenneth Kaunda had dreamed of a Southern Africa that advanced the interests of its people, and believed that the subregion being richly endowed with natural resources, it was only fair that its people be put in a position to fully benefit from such wealth. Minister Molale was speaking in Charleshill on Tuesday at the send off ceremony for the TKC cyclists who embarked to Namibia on the final lap of the 1 800 kilometre cycle that started on April 16 in Rustenburg, South Africa.

“I commend this team (of cyclists) because they have reignited the quest for African unity by just cycling along a corridor that strives to unite the African countries of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa,” he said. He said cycling through the corridor had also sparked in people living along it the urge to look at the highway with a more inquisitive eye, the intention being to identify other opportunities that it presented beyond facilitating trade through easing movement of goods, services and people.

“Your cycling through the TKC has re-energised people and mobilised them to think more and much better about the resources at their disposal. This is something that we should commend you for because just cycling across and meeting people and reminding them of the importance of this road is a big mission,” he said. Zooming in onto the Charleshill district, he said the road was a lifeline for the people of the region and encouraged them to see beyond it being a mere road. He said they could build accommodation facilities, cultural villages and restaurants along the route for use by motorists and tourists who use the highway.

Acknowledging the significance of the Trans Kalahari route, Council Secretary for Charleshill District Council Mr Patrick Gaebuse said more could still be done to further unlock the great potential of the road. He said there was for instance a need for research desks, with adequate funding, for the TKC and said such desks could be located in the districts through which the corridor passed. Mr Gaebuse said the research carried out would identify opportunities that people living along the TKC could explore for individual and collective empowerment. TKC secretariat’s executive director Mr Leslie Mpofu thanked Botswana government and the nation for the great hospitality they had extended to the team of cyclists as they pedalled through the country.

Minister Molale later handed the cyclists over to his Namibian counterpart, Minister of Works and Transport and also Deputy Prime Minister Mr John Mutorwa at the Boitepos border post after exiting Botswana through the Mamuno border post.


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