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Facing my demons in a Zambezi bungee jump

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
The Victoria Falls Shearwater Bungee Jump attracts people from all over the world PIC: SHEARWATERBUNGEE.COM
I have always had this nightmare whereby I fall from a cliff and just when I am about to hit the ground, I wake up. The dream is always terrifying. Recently when I visited Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe I finally got to face my nightmare but this time I was fully awake.

Bungee jumping is an activity that involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. The Victoria Falls Shearwater Bungee Jump is undoubtedly one of the most scenic bungee jumps in the world and I wanted to see Zambezi River upside down on my death rope.

In fact it was my good friends, Miss Prew and Bowling who convinced me to do this and the only thing I was afraid of was death. “Nna kana koga rona rea loiwa,” I told them.

But the two ladies were determined to do this and I couldn’t be the only coward. I thought of my parents who had no idea what I was about to do. I even envisioned their reaction after my death.  “Tota ngwana yo oka go go ipolaela lesidi hela ko mahatsheng a sele,” my mother would say, at least that’s what I think.

I decided to put witchcraft out of my mind and take a dive. But this was no ordinary bridge. The mighty Zambezi River was flowing beneath it and even though I had heard of South Africa’s Bloukrans Bridge this to me was the greatest bungee jump in the world.

I had seen videos before and hey, Will Smith, I am talking about The Will Smith jumped off the same bridge last year. Who was I to be denied this?

A quick prayer then it was time to face my demons. I took the leap even though my mind was buzzing with adrenaline the whole time. 

The instructors took me through the usual prep but I wasn’t listening really, my heart and mind were elsewhere; thinking about the journey downwards.  The instructor told me I was hundred percent safe, so no worries. Mind you, my friend Miss Prew had

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already jumped so I wasn’t that scared now.

Then the jumpmaster made the usually countdown and next thing I was up in oblivion handling my GoPro camera with hands stretched. The first four seconds of freefall was mind-blowing and mind you,  this is a 111 metres jump.

I screamed so loud that I bet the hippos and crocodiles in the river heard me loud and clear. Just when I was about to reach the bottom, and meet my demise, the rope was pulled up and I settled in the air for a moment as I watched the most spectacular views and then I smiled towards the Zambezi River, which was just about to swallow me. I began to talk to my camera that was recording the worst of me moments earlier.

Then a recovery operator who was facing down as I was facing up pulled me up again. I got flipped and turned upside down and it was not over, not even by a mile. It was pure adrenalin as the rescue operator pulled my scared self away from the rumbling waters of the Zambezi River.

He asked me if I was okay, I said yes just to act tough but all I wanted was to ask him to pull faster so that we can go back sooner.  It is a thrill-seeking activity not for the faint-hearted.

I have done a tandem jump before but jumping from a moving plane is quite better than bungee jumping. Throwing yourself off a platform head first with a strong cord tied around your ankles is something I wouldn’t repeat but can recommend for the adventurous people. I saw my terrifying video afterwards, and I got to admit, I was nervous. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.



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