Text: Leilani Basson
Photos: Jannie Herbst
My driving skills are like my ball sense: They are not what I would call my strongest attributes. Mom used to say that I was probably chatting to someone in another queue when they were dishing those out. So, not being a huge success on a bicycle, roller blades or a skateboard as a child, Band-Aid was a household brand for us – especially on holiday.
When I reached high school my parents refused point blank to get me a scooter. When it was time to get my driver’s licence no one in the family had the inclination (or patience) to show me the ropes. So I had to pay for an instructor who slapped me on the hand every time I did something wrong. As a result, I ended up getting my Code 08 with blood, sweat and tears and a fairly forgiving eye from the test officer.
So, to be completely honest, I’m no Michael Schumacher. I still can’t parallel park like a pro, don’t really know how to reverse with a trailer, and have had a few narrow escapes on the road, like most SA drivers, I guess. All in all, I’m just another girly driver who drives very cautiously, seldom overtakes and usually walks the extra mile when parking at a shopping centre. Finding two neighbouring horizontal bays next to each other is not always easy…
Consequently, when hubby first heard I was going on a 4×4 course for work, he just smiled and gave me a silent thumbs-up. So it was with a bit of sensitivity and self-consciousness that I arrived at Safari Centre in Pretoria East that morning.
While sipping away on a nice cuppa in their boardroom, André de Villiers (yes, the friendly TV guy from 4×4 Roetes) stepped in, introduced himself and put me at ease for what lay ahead. Likeable from the first minute, with a real gentlemanly quality about him, I somehow felt at ease with this stranger I was going to spend some real quality time with.