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Pole to Pole

Day 123: Soutpansberg Mountains to Johannesburg

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleWe run on towards Pretoria, across another immense and spectacular African plain. This is the High Veld. The four-lane highways are in good condition and not busy. Puffy altocumulus clouds are stacking up in a wide blue sky.

We arrive at Pretoria, over 200 miles from last night's stop-over, in good time for the afternoon's big football match. Christopher, the black driver of the minibus into which we have transferred, is becoming increasingly agitated the nearer we get to the Atteridgeville Super Stadium. Atteridge is a black area, he says, and will not be safe for us. Looking around at the township, set on a hill, with a church and a lot of brick houses with pitched corrugated iron roofs, I can't see quite what he's worried about. The streets are unswept and there has been no attempt to plant a public tree or two, but no one is shaking their fist at us. The traffic begins to build up as we near the stadium and Christopher falls apart completely. This is not a safe place, they are all black people here, and do we not know what they do to white people in a place like this? They kill them.

Then suddenly his fear subsides. He has spotted several white faces queuing up for tickets for the game. All of them are alive and well.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 123
  • Country/sea: South Africa
  • Place: Pretoria
  • Book page no: 274

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