In the Holy Land of Jerusalem, beneath the same place where Christ was crucified, Golgotha, there exist a small Christian Chapel. Chapel of St. Vartan is one of the only few churches closed to the public. It was until Bishop Guregh Kapikkian of the Armenian Orthodox Church began a secret and illegal excavation beneath the chapel in the 1970s. His main aim and intention could have been to give at least the public an opportunity to have a look at what they were totally barred away from. As a result of royalty and status in the society, Bishop Guregh was not in the capacity of doing the excavations by himself. He, therefore, hired monks to do the ‘dirty work. Perhaps, engaging in what could have led to treason and conspiracy against the sitting government lead by then prime minister David Ben Gurion.
Lying deep beneath and directly adjacent to the back of Golgotha, it is very much possible to touch and have a feel at the historical rock quarry. It’s this same quarry that Jesus said in the parable of the rejected son, “the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the LORD had done this, and it’s marvellous in our eyes.” And so does the Holy Book quote the same in the book of Psalm 118:22-23. The same scripture is adversely narrated in three out of the four Gospels of Mathew 21:42, Mark 12:10 and Luke 20:17 respectively.
As Jesus was making this statement, He was probably alluding to the blemishes of red blood running through the visible, rough and untouched rock. Around the rock, evidence of huge quarry business is non-alienable as the builders religiously used them to build. Except for the red part.
Safari Rally the rejected stone
The red colour however turns to be oxidized limestone where water has discoloured the white rock and made it not worthy as a building material. It was therefore literally rejected by the builders as unworthy. He would, later on, be crucified on the same stone. The long story of the Bible continues and so is the need to continue with it in a spiritual set-up where shouts of a Hallelujah is highly inevitable.
Back to the recently concluded Safari Rally, there is no single doubt that there exists a very thin line between the rally and the parable of the rejected son. Safari Rally has metaphase for over the years to what we were treated into in the past week. Fans from far and wide thronged Naivasha just to have a glimpse at the highly hyped event. Kenyans in their typical nature, are the best hypers the world has ever seen. It, therefore, makes sense to see people travelling as far as Dar es Salaam to grace the occasion. Mwanza, Moshi, Dodoma, Jinja, Kampala, Mombasa, Kisumu are just but some of the towns whose residents resorted to a sporting pilgrimage over the weekend.
To the majority of the fans, this was one event of its own kind. Missing therefore wasn’t an option at all. A good number of the travellers however had never seen the rally as their fathers and forefathers watched the same events. Memories from the forefathers, therefore, played a pivotal role in convincing the legion of fans to go and camp in Naivasha. Now christened ‘Vasha town.
The venture wasn’t a disappointing one and for God’s sake, the Government of Kenya scored huge Bonga points from the success of the event.
19-years wait for Safari Rally
The last edition of Safari Rally then known as Classic Safari Rally has seen all its young ling’s graduate. A number of them have become legal citizens, husbands, wives and by political measures, eligible voters. Such a tremendous evolution.
Indeed, even though history is warming up to judge the sitting government harshly, on Safari Rally, they have a scapegoat. They have delivered exactly what they promised the citizens of Kenya. Getting Safari Rally back to the WRC calendar hasn’t been a walk in the park and we all owe due allegiance for the hard effort made by the government.
Having seen what it is, we can gladly move further to have a meeting with the oldies for it can allow us to process questions and experiences after the weekend excursion. We can at the same time try to evaluate the East African Safari Rally of 1953 that was used to mark the inauguration of Queen Elizabeth second of England. The only difference being the 5, 000 kilometres that traversed Uganda, Tanzania and finally Kenya for a nine-day event.
Though highly dominated by foreigners, Kenyans were as well delighted not only with the results of the Kenyan drivers but also the fantastic performance of Onkar Rai who professionally, displayed a scintillating brand of flair and quality all through the three-day event. Through him, we are able to evaluate and recall back memories of octogenarians such as Joginder Singh, Sospeter Munyegera and Chandra Shekhar Mehta.
Time to invest
The whizz is finally over now. The dust has since settled and everyone has packed up. We only remain with eternal memories imbedded dearly in our hearts as we wait to pour the same to the next generation. A well done!
To the Kenyan government, investors and sports fraternity as a whole, the success of the Safari Rally is a clarion call. This is the time to get the house in order and believe in the power of sports. Coverage by the Standard Media Group that Safari Rally was set to pump in about 6 billion is not a joke and shouldn’t be taken as a charade. That’s what sports can do. Only if the relevant stakeholders decide to sit down and engage fruitfully.
With Kenya assured of hosting rights up to the year 2026, we must constantly rise above and be where we dearly belong. For that reason, motorsport infrastructure is very much necessary and so does the same apply to all other sports that this country offers. It’s a matter of fact that the state of our sporting infrastructure is so wanting, doubting and non-enviable. If we however wish to bring more top-class events, we must be seen as a serious sporting nation.
Safari Rally has been a success. Kenya Golf Magical Opens and the subsequent Savanah Classic Opens back in March were all a success. Let’s build from there before we bid for more events.