For the love – Ruan makes it home
Over the last two months I have had the most wonderful opportunity to meet a country and its people in slow motion. To look at everything and everyone at 25 kilometres per hour. I experienced a different South Africa, one that has opened up its soul in its diversity and given me much more than a smile on my sometimes lonely face.
The last 9000 km have taken me through 9 provinces and introduced me to 11 languages. I have met so many different people and experienced unique ways of looking at a beautiful country that has taken its own with every person …
In Johannesburg I started a journey seeking the promised Ubuntu. The idea of sharing that is such a major part of what South Africa has become. I put my faith into the concept in the hope to find something beautiful, something that would unite as us a nation and something I could share in return.
My journey took me through the bushveld of the Limpopo, through its areas of tropical climate with banana and orange plantations. I met people that smiled here even if though they have nothing. How they are willing to share the last mango because one cannot eat alone.
I have experienced the grass landscapes and mountainous areas of Mpumalanga and the Lowveld. Where a woman will give you a cup of coffee and some conversation if you ask for it. Where the landscape invites you in and tree plantations give your imagination a place to run wild if you dare tread the shade.
Kwazulu Natal showed me what it means to fight for something you believe in. It also showed me what it means to be a friend. A friend to anyone that could need it at that moment, one without expectations and limitations. The overgrown forest here mimicking cloudy thoughts.
I have become part of new families that accept me for who I am, and who I could be, as they would you. New mothers that care and fathers that teach. Smiling my way through the Eastern Cape I realized what it means to give freely of ones own. I have seen commitment and passion in people that aspire and believe in the impossible. Aspirations that consume their entirety and inspire anyone that come too close. I have seen dreams become a reality.
Blue oceans and stars have amazed me, the wind and rain have shown me a different side of myself. I have seen people come together and unify because they believe in something. I have slept on the ground with the sound of water by my side and felt the cold earth underneath my skin.
I have come to realize what home means and what a smile and a hug means after two months. But most of all I have learnt that Ubuntu has many personalities. It changes as the landscape does and put together it forms on beautiful concept of love. People in South Africa love, they love their landscape, their dreams, they are passionate about people and they confirm their being every day by not having fear of life.
This country has shown me what it is to live, the road has taught me to look forward and I have experienced the sun warming my skin on a cloudy day, much as a smile from someone who tried many times and got it right the first time. South Africa has shared its love with me, something I will share for time to come…
You are reading Explore South Africa Cycle Tour Series Read more from this series of articles.
- Collecting people's stories – Cycling 9000km in 70 days
- Scraps of Hope - Pre cycle-tour Free State visit
- Where is Ruan? Join us as we follow him on his "Explore SA" cycle tour
- A human wallflower - from the road, by Ruan Smit
- She’s no Barberton Daisy ...
- Rashid had R30 - Stories from Explore SA Cycle Tour
- Not another high tea - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Give a Soccer Ball ...
- A Gonubie affair - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Kenton on Sea inspires - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Say Cheese! - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Adin ‘The no money man’ - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- There is a city… stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- An Elands Bay Road trip - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Where love grows with flowers - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- A River of Life - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- And Douglas smiles - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Digging for Dreams in Kimberley - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Seeking the sun - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Pitching a tent - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Parys with a ‘Y’? - stories from the road by Ruan
- A different forest - stories from the road by Ruan
- For the love - Ruan makes it home