Thabo Mothibi, Managing Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
South Africa’s 1980s international box office hit The Gods Must Be Crazy must have succeeded in drawing the world’s attention to the Kalahari Desert which straddles this country and neighbouring Botswana and Namibia. Into the future and four decades later; the desert’s dry lake pen at Hakskeenpan nestled 300 kilometres north-west of Upington in the Northern Cape will again fetch the global spotlight as multitudes of land speed enthusiasts descend on it in 2020.
Fiction is always imaginary but then the outpost shall present a real science as its crazed dried up mud is set to post a fancied world land speed record of over 1,609 kilometres per hour (km/h). The Bloodhound LSR’s planning takes off this mid-October with a month long high-speed test runs being conducted by its largely British crew members with varied expertise. From the company’s website CEO Ian Warhurst pleaded with the speed fanatics not to invade the desert as yet but to wait for 2020.
“The testing we are planning this year is a private deployment that isn’t designed for spectators. We are not encouraging people to visit the area to watch the runs because the inherent nature of testing means there may be several days in between runs. We’re planning around 20 runs over four weeks and, due to the nature of the test programme, we won’t be able to confirm which day the car will be running.
“I am aware that Bloodhound’s loyal supporters have been waiting a long time for the car to run at Hakskeenpan and I’m hugely grateful for their continued support. I also know some have been looking forward to travelling to the pan to see the car do its test runs,” urged Warhurst, also citing the current lack of infrastructure as a major factor and punting #2019HST as the hashtag to follow for tests updates.
A blast back to the movie’s past, it will be unlike its weird storyline of a tribe of uncivilized villagers lives being “torn to pieces” amid a “strange foreign object” in the form of a Coca-Cola bottle falling from a hovering plane and igniting a fight over whom it belongs to. The clearing of 21, 500,000 square meters of dryland by the locals attests to them knowing what is set to unfold in their bucolic surrounds.
The pan’s fertile ground for the supersonic jet and rocket engined Bloodhound LSR car will prove the gods to be crazy, and resoundingly so for scientists, engineers, cable news networks and hordes of other stakeholders. No patronising will be at play this time around. There is one human that will be at the helm of steering this scientific wizardry and he will leave many a speed freak green with envy.
“Finally, the news we’ve all been waiting for…Bloodhound is going to the desert this year! The accommodation is booked, deposits have been paid, and we’re arranging charter flights and sea freight space as I write,” enthused supersonic car driver land speed breaker Andy Green in a guest-writer article published on the BBC news’ online platform this past Wednesday.
Green set the world land speed record at 1,227 km/h in the United States’ Black Rock Desert in 1997 and is determined to improve on it with his 20/20 vision in the gods crazed Kalahari Desert mission.
By Thabo Mothibi
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Thabo Mothibi is a former broadcast journalist (TV and Radio) – with specialist reporting experience; SABC Political/Parliamentary and TRC Teams over a period of five years (1995 to 2000).
One key foreign assignment - is the 11-nation African Connection Rally – overland journey from Africa’s northern-most pole in the coastal Tunisian city of Bizerte to the southern-most pole in South Africa’s Cape Agulhas. From the journalistic years, Thabo then delved into Government media liaison and serving two former Ministers and three MECs. He became the Northern Cape Provincial Government’s first department based Communications Director at Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development - 2008-2010 – where he also served as Head of Ministry from 2003 – 2008.
As a former anti-apartheid activist, his political background and professional training aided him in spearheading the Northern Cape ANC’s 2004 National Elections media and publicity campaign and that of the 2006 Local Government Elections.
Whilst based in Waterkloof in Pretoria -2010 to end 2011, he consulted for Manstrat Agricultural Intelligence, then returned to the Northern Cape in 2012 to date, to consult independently and pursue other entrepreneurial interests in media and communications through KwaVuko Communications and Marketing.
Thabo Mothibi obtained his NQF7 through Wits University’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management (P&DM) in Johannesburg, a Unilever Mandela Rhodes Academy for Marketing and Communications Academy (UMRA). The goal of the NQF7 programme was to educate and train public and private sector professional communicators and marketers in government communications..