‘Most people here are kind’, says Japanese cyclist after KZN robbery

2018-11-14 15:30
Tetsuya Mizoguchi was not robbed of his gear and camera and will continue his ride through Africa.

Tetsuya Mizoguchi was not robbed of his gear and camera and will continue his ride through Africa. (Facebook)

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The Japanese long-distance cyclist who was robbed at gunpoint in Howick remains keen to continue his journey across Africa.

Tetsuya Mizoguchi (22), a mechanical engineering student who is attempting to cycle from Cape Town to Egypt, said he was accosted by two men who were on foot on Saturday who threatened him with a gun and stole two cellphones and about R1 000.

He was cycling on the N3 highway near Tweedie at the time.

The assailants gave back some Japanese currency and fled. They did not take any of his camping equipment or the camera he has been using to document his journey.

Mizoguchi then cycled to Howick police station, asking people on the street for directions. He asked officers to contact staff at Somta Tools, whose parent company, OSG Japan, is sponsoring his journey.

Somta staff picked him up from the police station, and gave him a new cell phone.

By Tuesday, Mizoguchi was in Lady­smith, en route to Newcastle. His next stop is Johannesburg.

He said Somta had put him up in a B&B on Saturday night, and he spent Monday night lodging with a kind Samaritan in Ladysmith.

“I want to continue the journey,” Mizoguchi said, adding that many people recognise him because of his photo being on the front page of The Witness last week.

“I know most people here are kind, and I like this country.”

Somta said in a statement to The Witness that Mizoguchi’s camera and bank cards were all left untouched.

“And, most importantly, he was not hurt. Our MD [managing director] replaced his phone, he spent [Saturday] night at the B&B, and he re-started his journey on Sunday morning.

“We hope this is the first and last negative experience he has in South Africa, and we are so sad that it happened in our home province.”

Police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said a case of armed robbery was under investigation.

Mizoguchi set off on his journey in October 17 and cycles for about 10 hours every day. He plans to reach Cairo by March next year.

He camps in secluded spots at night, and survives on bread, canned food and the occasional takeaway.

He is no stranger to this kind of long-distance cycling, and has completed similar journeys in parts of Europe, South America and his native Japan.

Mizoguchi’s journey will see him make his next stop in Johannesburg. He intends to ride through Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and finally Egypt.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime
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