Zuma road trip is one helluva party

2011-05-07 08:52

It’s day one of what promises to be an assignment that most journalists would kill for.

Photographer Khaya Ngwenya and I get to spend the next 12 days dogging the footsteps of President Jacob Zuma as he flies around the country, criss-crossing five provinces and who knows how many cities, towns and villages, trying to convince people to vote ANC on May 18.

We’ve got a budget, air tickets, vouchers for cars and hotel rooms and nothing else on our plates except wandering five provinces after the big man and telling the tale as we go along. And we’re getting paid to do it!

The road trip is one helluva party all by itself: there’s weird places across our country and we’re getting to be in spots that we have no good reason to visit.

Add to that the rush of chasing the Commander in Chief across the country as he flies and convoys from place to place; the organised mayhem that comes with non-stop, door-to-door work and rallies in a succession of towns; the blue lights, masses of cops and the screaming masses for 12 days on the trot and there’s the makings of a seriously mind-altering experience.

We’ve put together a pretty tight battle plan for the mission: it’s a logistical nightmare putting this together to try and keep up with a man who not only has military flights at his disposal, but who has a truly formidable capacity for this kind of work.

And, of course, at some time in the next two weeks our plans will have plans for us.

It is what it is. Being on the road tailing the CIC gets damn tiring.

I followed him for 10 days in 2009 and slept for about a week afterwards.

This time we started in Kimberley. (On the way here we passed a place called Bosvark. I kid you not.)

There’s a rally at Galeshewe, where Zuma campaigned in 2009 and then he’s off to Kenhardt, Augrabies, Marchand and Kakamas.

We don’t have a helicopter, so we’ll do Galeshewe and then try our luck with Kakamas.

It’s a five-hour drive from Kimberley and then we have to motor back to Bloemfontein to catch a flight.

It’s going to be an interesting drive.

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