20-Apr-2002 -- Phakisa, Welkom in sunny South Africa and the MotorGP 2002: it was the promise of a great motorcycle racing weekend that got us out there in the first place and the prospect of claiming a Confluence that got us arranging detours to find said hallowed piece of ground in a GPS heaven.
The Confluence we aimed for was 28S 27E, a Confluence as yet un-visited and set deep in a sunflower field in the Orange Freestate. The site is 3.9 km on a bearing of 214° true from the little town of Hennenman, itself 39.1 km on a bearing 211° true from Kroonstad, a bigger town on the M1 route between Johannesburg and Capetown. I arrived at 09H00 to rendezvous with a colleague for the attempt. The field was huge stretching to the horizon and carrying our motorcycle gear we scaled the barbed wire fence and plunged into a world of dried sunflower stalks planted in precise rows and dusty ground. We covered some 150 metres and crossed 83 rows of the crop before arriving at the point that the GPS claimed was the spot of confluence between line of latitude 28° and line of longitude 27°. This it proclaimed too, was with an accuracy of 3.8 metres and being a Garmin GPS V that cost a truly extraordinary sum of money, I saw no reason to argue. This also due to the fact that I generally lose arguments with most electronic devices and have long since decided to go with the flow or the readout in this case (see picture).
While my colleague busied himself with pictures I took stock of our surroundings and decided, that we truly have seasons in the sun when grown men can be out and about on touring on motorcycles, looking for an esoteric point like this confluence of lines of latitude and longitude in a field of sunflowers, in the Orange Free State, under the blued vault of a Southern African sky.