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Outdoor events to look forward to

There continues to be a hectic calendar of outdoor events, activities and fundraisers to keep us all busy, active and warm this winter.

OutDoor with Rosie Mitchell

On July 28, the ever popular, always very social 22nd Verandah Gallery Charity Art Exhibition runs from 10am to 4pm at 16 Woodholme Rd Emerald Hill, with paintings on display and on sale by 60 Zimbabwean artists.

Detema Jazz Band will provide background music.

Food, drinks and wine will be on sale and all proceeds and commissions go to Emerald Hill Children’s Home and Emerald Hill School for the Deaf as usual. The new 2014 Verandah Gallery calendars will also be on sale.

Hot on the heels of its recent successful rhino awareness fundraiser, and a pursuant successful rhino de-horning exercise, Aware Trust is holding a further rhino conservation fundraiser — a golf day next Friday July 19.

If you’d like to know more about this, and be part of the solution, when it comes to the plight of the rhino, phone Tracey on 0772261079 right away.

I’m also pleased to report that now that all sums have been done, the Taste of Africa Wild Dog Conservation fundraiser in Mukuvisi Woodlands did indeed raise substantial funds for this cause, which go in equal shares to the two excellent beneficiary wild dog projects.

There was a run on tickets at the last minute and some people even bought theirs at the gate, and with the excellent response to the auction, this fundraiser was very successful.

As we get older, we tend to get fixed in our ways, preferences and thinking, so branching out to try out something totally different is a good way to force us out of our comfort zone with an open mind.

I’ve never been much of an enthusiast for any kind of spectator sport, losing focus and interest really fast.

However, since taking up running, and entering running events myself, I can now get riveted, watching something like the London Marathon — because I can relate to it on some level.

Drag Pro Club, the place for ‘speed freaks’

Watching motor sport has never appealed to me at all — though, as one of my staff pointed out to me on a trip to the Chikupu Caves, I’m really a wannabe rally driver in disguise!

I think he may have found my relaxed and rather enthusiastic approach to the challenging dirt roads of Chinamhora just a tad alarming!

The same member of staff had popped along recently to drag racing at Donnybrook, to take some photos and wildly enthused about the vibe and the sport itself, so, with open minds, we decided to try this out last weekend, and see what it was all about.

The Drag Pro Club is very active and organised, and I like their slogan Race the Track, Not the Street — and secretly I rather fancy roaring up the track at a very high speed — though am not sure I have the right sort of vehicle!

However, as we were to discover, that’s not really the point — because they encourage anyone and everyone to try it out, over the 400 metre distance of straight tar track — in any vehicle they fancy.

In the process, they hope that speed freaks get it out of our/their systems here, instead of on the streets where it’s a hazard to ourselves and others!

On July 7, there were two very snazzy drag racing cars on a visit from South Africa with well known champion drag racer Reg Murray, who lived and raced in Zimbabwe for 30 years before heading South. He was happy to be home to visit and race, albeit he got stuck at the border for three days fighting bureaucracy to come in with said vehicles.

He has quite some perseverance to have hung in there, and I know the organisers had some sleepless nights given the publicity around his visit with these specially adapted, super fast drag racing cars.

The event drew a really big crowd — it seems this sport is attracting larger and larger audiences with every passing event. We could soon see why. This crowd was as comprehensive a cross-section of Zimbabwean society as you would find anywhere — in fact, it was phenomenal!

I’ve not seen such a representative slice of the many communities and income brackets that make Zimbabwe in one place anywhere else — except possibly at the Hifa opening show! People from every walk of life, every social echelon and every ethnicity had turned out in droves, bringing their families to have a great time.

In fact, for quite a lot of them, the racing itself was somewhat “by the by”, as they were very happy socialising, cooking on their braais, enjoying the sunshine and ambience, and catching up with friends and family.

It proved very challenging to take photos of drag racing — I think you need to be a real pro, as the cars and motorbikes and whatever, really do roar up that track!

It’s a fast-moving and entertaining spectacle, as opponents race each other in the eliminations, until eventually it’s down to the two finalists in each category.

The average draw is around 2 500, but there was clearly more. I can recommend this as a super weekend outing with the family.

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