I arose at 04h00. I had forgotten that Namibia is in West Africa Time Zone (WAT). Namibia is exactly one hour ahead of South Africa in the winter months, from April to September, and two hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) from October to March. By 06h00 we were all packed and ready to travel to the tournament venue at the University of Namibia sports complex. The plan was to depart for South Africa directly from the tournament. We arrived at the venue at 07h30. Also in attendance and participating in the tournament, was a contingent of six senior athletes from Angola who were currently studying at the University of Namibia.
They were supported by two senior Angolan karate officials, one of whom was the President of the Angolan Karate Federation. Again, this was all helping to showcase the profile of Karate Zen Namibia as the event now featured three different countries. The deputy minister for sport, with whom we had met and had discussions on the previous day, was true to his word as he had made a special effort to attend the tournament.
The event commenced with the normal opening speeches as well as a presentation of a 6th Dan (Rokudan) grade to the Chief Instructor of Namibia, Gert Husselmann. In his keynote address, the deputy minister of sport focussed on the importance of sport as nation-building for different countries especially in times where countries were experiencing political tension and strained relationships.
Once the tournament was underway there was a good spirit of rivalry amongst the competitors. The South African team was far too experienced for the other teams, but this at least allowed for growth and development at all levels. Towards the end of the day our Namibian hosts laid on a braai for their South African and Angolan opponents. This was most welcome.
During the course of the day the South African leadership was also able to have an important meeting with the Namibian Chief Instructor and the President of Karate Zen Namibia. At the meeting it was decided that the tournament would become an annual event with an open invitation to Angola.
At 18h00 we were all boarded the bus for the return journey to South Africa.
By 03h00 we were at the border. The locusts were back in mass to greet us. The temperature at that ungodly hour was 26 degrees. This time the crossing was done in record time. We were prepared as we had completed most of the documentation in advance. Within an hour and a half we were back on the road. As the sun rose on Sunday morning the sleeping passengers were awakened to the strains of a Jimmy Swaggart DVD.
The stops were brief. The journey home always seemed much quicker. Once again I tried to take in as much as I could of the changing vegetation and landscape. At 14h30 we were greeted with a view of Table Mountain and Table Bay. This was an instant indication for everyone to suddenly start gathering their belongings.
At 14h45 the bus pulled into the Goodwood parking area, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. We had spent an exciting and very successful four days in Namibia. I trust 2012 will be even more exciting. In fact, I know it will. I have already booked my seat.