The Imposing Policeman

It’s late in the morning when we leave our camping spot and leave Port St. Johns. School kids seem to have their break. Kids in uniform are along side the road and watch the cars pass by. The speed bumps turn out to be camouflaged and have the same colour as the tarmac….Helga gives me an angry look when she is almost lifted out of her seat and thrown into the backseats because of me missing it. I give her an apologetic look and mumble “sorry” while I try my best to spot the next one.

An imposing man in a uniform steps in front of our car. By the way he moves you can see it is not the first time he does this. His belt is heavy from his gun and he almost seems to lean to that side when he walks from the weight. I brake while I look around me. I missed it completely at first, but it turns out there is a police car on the side of the road kind of hidden behind the bushes. Around the car are three policemen. One handles the speeding camera, while the others are leaning on their rifles. The imposing policeman’s hand is sliding over the bullbar and while he walks towards us his gloved hands are tapping rhythmically on the bonnet. His destination is the driver side window which I already opened. A large head comes into our car and asks us: “where are you going?”. I see his nostrils move like a nervous bull and he seems to take in the air of the car. If I would have some popcorn on my lap that would have been funny. Helga answers his question by telling him the next big city on our map. He gives her a serious look and he almost seems to want to smell if we are speaking the truth. “ How long are you staying in South Africa?” Helga answers: “four weeks sir”. He takes another big gulp of air and I think: I hope he leaves some for us too. “ Alright, continue” says the policeman while he gets his head out of the car. I look at Helga, who shrugs, and with both windows open we quickly drive on.


Via a long track through several small villages, cornfields, groups of schoolchildren going home for the day and a lot of lazy cows standing in the middle of the road without any inclination to go off it, we end up at the Kraal. We are invited by our Dutch friends, who work as doctors at the hospital in Isilimele, just a few kilometres away, to enjoy pizza night.

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