Sunday, 24 January 2016

That 'Saved by GPS' moment in South Africa

#Experience  #Navigation

It happened sometime last year. We were in South Africa and it was a saved by the 'GPS moment'.

PC - Wikipedia
First thing to know about South Africa is that it is a super beautiful country but I will not call it 'safe'. It is a combination of developed and under-developed places. Developed are the areas where most white people stay and under-developed are the areas where mainly black people stay. Hey, I am not the racist here but it is a very discriminated country, it just does not have a 'middle class' - only super rich and super poor.

The incidence took place in Johannesburg, the crime capital of the country. My husband and I were off to movies and on a recommendation of a colleague I booked tickets in a new mall i.e. the one we have never been to before. Due to some awful reasons we were late, I don't remember them now but my hubby blames me for it and I know he must be right. Anyway, we turned on the GPS and in haste I selected the quickest route. Much to my despair I didn't realise but we entered Alexandra - the worst place to be in. If rest of the country was crime prone, this area was the source. My boss once explained me - "stay out of that area, if you enter it after dark - they will even steal your underwear"
Now you can imagine my horror when we realised where were we. As we entered I started to yell "turn around, turn around" but my law and rules abiding husband wanted to find a proper exit, you see unlike India, you just don't take a U-turn on roads in South Africa. Despite of all my yelling we entered and I almost had a heart-attack.

Yes, we were in the heart of the township and we were scared.

I tried navigating on GPS but every exit was blocked with  big rocks. We roamed around searching for exits for almost an hour and the darkness started to fall. As the sky grew dark, so did my thoughts and fears. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I recalled last week's news of gang rape and theft in the area. 
My hands trembled as I again tried my hands on my useless GPS device. I could see men gathering around, drinking, laughing and pointing at us. While we were contemplating the situation, I heard a tap on my glass... a man was smiling. He could see how scared we were, slowly I rolled down the window.

"I see you are lost" he asked politely
I nodded as I wiped my cheeks
"You don't want to be here after dark. It will not be safe"
"We know, but GPS is not helping us. We can't find a way out" my husband hastily responded

Understanding what we meant he took our GPS and adjusted it to the right route. I thanked him for his gesture as he handed it back to me.
As we took off, first thing I checked was the reliability of the navigation he pulled up. It looked fine and quickly but carefully we navigated out of our soul-grinding nightmare.

Of course, we missed the movies but hey no complains there. Who cares about a stupid movie when you have lived a horror one yourself. And not to mention, in our stress, on our way back we almost entered 'Hilbrow' another "no entry zone"of Johannesburg, but it is story for another day.

Cheers and Love.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.


  1. An eye opener, thanks for sharing the experience.

    1. Hi Indrani
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. I had this kind of experience in Goa,I know how it feels .Glad that you are out

    1. Hi Sadhvi
      Thanks :)
      I hope all was fine in end in Goa.


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