By: Hendrina Kanyolo
After realising that she was spending a shocking amount of money on taxi fare, 57-year-old, Sarafia-Eben Augustinus, approached her then-boss to purchase a bicycle and paid back the money in installments. For the past 22 years, Augustinus has been cycling to work… and has no plans to stop
Clad in her riding outfit, Augustinus also known by her nickname 'Me Fire', peddles about 45 minutes every day of the week from Windhoek's Greenwell Matongo informal settlement to her workplace in Suiderhof.
‘Me Fire' wears several hats, not only is she a professional cyclist but is also a second-in-command of the Greenwell neighbourhood watch.
Although she has lost numerous bicycles to theft over the years, she described how she saves money by riding her bicycle to and from work.
“I see a lot of people coming to knock at my door in the morning asking: "lend me N$10 to go to work. I ride my bicycle and I think to myself, people are struggling, it is not easy. If you do not have taxi money, you have to borrow from someone. Will you now stay away from work or what will you do if you don’t have money”.
The quinquagenarian added that cycling is good for one’s health and this is the advice she wants to pass on to young people.
Augustinus has bagged medals and certificates from participating in cycling competitions and proudly shows them off. She added that she was even able to build her home from the proceeds of these competitions.
“I started cycling at the beginning of the year 2000 and by the end of the year I participated in three competitions and won five medals. The organiser of the competition sent this certificate of participation by post. I am proud to ride, the bicycle, and a woman who lives down the street always commends me saying she loves what I do and if she could ride the bicycle she would,” noted Augustinus.
Asked how safe it is on the road as a cyclist, Augustinus responded by saying that cyclists should be 100 percent sure their brakes are functional to avoid accidents.
She explained that they encounter problems with taxi drivers who speed in front of them because they see a client ahead and don't indicate the direction they intend to drive.
Me Fire told News on One she plans to continue cycling for the next 20 years.