Fun Zim Ride
... a crazy charity cycle ride
for Zimbabwe ...
Richard Pantlin

The Inspiration

by Richard Pantlin
It was back in Spring 2005 that I first felt I should re-engage with Zimbabwe in some way.  I have visited only once – in summer 1987 for a wonderful month-long tour.  The music scene in Harare was at its peak.   Remember the Bhundu Boys who made it big here in England thanks to John Peel!  Greater stars in Zimbabwe were Thomas Mapfumo who sang the Chimurenga songs of the freedom struggle and Oliver Mutukudzi (whom I think of as Zim’s Charles Aznavour) to name but two.
There was a great sense of pride in the country that was still young and confident.  It had international stature as a frontline state housing many ANC exiles fighting against apartheid to the south.  The struggles for black majority rule were ones I had supported in my own very small way – cheering on Comrade Robert Mugabe when he visited Oxford during the Lancaster House negotiations.  And later even Margaret Thatcher famously called him “a man we can do business with” (while still labelling Nelson Mandela a “terrorist”).
So, in 1987 thanks to my college friend completing her PhD research there, I made friends and many acquaintances in Harare and enjoyed an idyllic few days in Chimanimani.  I was also able to visit two dear old friends of my mother’s who had moved to Bulawayo after majority rule.  They arranged for me to stay a night in a lodge in the fabulous Matopos national park seeing baboons and giraffes.  The tour included Great Zimbabwe and Vic Falls but the best was the wonderful hospitality from people including in the high density suburbs of Harare (not to mention the local beer).  It was a country full of bright, spirited and kind people.
Twenty-one years have passed and many Zimbabweans have been lost to AIDS and to exile but I will be going with a faith to reconnect to some pockets of that same spirit.

This time next year I will be turning 50 while in Zimbabwe a man’s life expectancy is 37.  I have had a relatively easy life and feel some responsibility to give back to the people of Zimbabwe – even though my engagement with their country was no more than the clap of a butterfly’s wings.
I have been lucky to have found Asher Mupasi of the Health, Education, Literacy Programme Zimbabwe who has shared my enthusiasm in organising a bike ride.

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The inspiration
The ride & practicalities
Zim fun!!
(music, poems, updates ...)

to help us reach
the target of £3000

through my page at

Just Giving

For details of the supported charity, click
Help International

Thanks very much!

If you want to keep up to date with news or arrangements for the ride, join the Fun Zim Ride group at Facebook