Wesbank

The man & his bike; Kabelo Digwaamaje 

SHARE   |   Monday, 19 June 2017   |   By B. Double
The man & his bike; Kabelo Digwaamaje 

Kabelo Digwaamaje is a financial accountant working for Peermont Global Botswana. He is affectionately known in the biking community as “Khabibi”. He has admired motorcycles since he was a young boy. His mother’s cousin rode a motorcycle back then. Whenever the cousin would come by to visit, Khabibi and the other neighborhood boys would gather around excitedly to admire the scene. In 2008, Khabibi finally went to a riding school. A number of the current crop of Gaborone bikers were taking riding lessons at the same time as him and obtained their licenses around the same time. After obtaining his riding license, Khabibi took some time to buy a motorcycle. His first bike was a Suzuki TL1000S, which he bought in 2011. He has great memories of the TL1000S, yet does not hesitate to point out that it was “one unstable bike” because “the handling was poor”. He had some “close calls” with the bike. Paradoxically, he smiles and says, “It was nice”. With hindsight, Khabibi feels that the TL1000S would have been better suited to a more experienced rider. He sold the bike before it got him into trouble. In 2012, he bought his current motorcycle – a Honda CBR1000RR, more commonly known as a Fireblade. He affectionately calls his Fireblade “Sword”. Khabibi loves the handling of the Fireblade. He has fitted a Yoshimura exhaust to the bike, which creates a sound which he describes as “music”.  He feels that the Fireblade is easy to ride. “It’s not aggressive,” he says, but is still powerful. Not to mention that he loves the looks too – particularly the tail, which he describes as “lean”. 

Khabibi is a member of Botswana Braves Motorcycle Club, which he describes as a “close knit family”. Many people may not be aware that the Braves were originally formed in the ‘90s but became dormant for a while. Khabibi and some other members of the new generation of riders resuscitated the club. Khabibi’s true love is riding on track. The problem is that the nearest racetracks available are in South Africa. This makes regular track riding expensive and difficult in terms of logistics. Khabibi says that motorcycles sound better on the track. He also likes the surface of the tracks and the curves. He used to regularly do breakfast runs with a group. Lately he rides less – once or twice a month. He says that he usually does solo rides on the road to Lentsweletau – the favourite road of most local riders. Khabibi also enjoys watching motorcycle racing. He never misses a MotoGP race on television. He also watches the Isle of Man TT on television. Khabibi has attended a number of motorcycle events in South Africa, including the famous Impala Rally and the Sopa Yopa rally in Polokwane. He was particularly impressed by the Sopa Yopa rally, which he considers to be a very well organised event. In addition, he has attended a number of “day jols” in South Africa. Khabibi says that his next bike will be another Honda Fireblade. “I will always be a ‘Blade guy,” he proudly exclaims. He will stick to the Fireblade because it is always reliable. He likes the looks and the Honda brand. He is impressed by the 2017 model Fireblade, which has increased horsepower and less weight than the previous model. It also has good electronics. 

If Khabibi could rub a magic motorcycle lamp and be granted one wish, he would ask for a Honda RC213V-S. This is his dream bike. It is a street-legal replica of the Honda MotoGP motorcycle used by Marc Marquez to win two MotoGP World Championships. There is a reason why this motorcycle has never been seen on local roads. It is extremely expensive. Last year, cycleworld.com stated the price of the bike to be US $184 000! Khabibi is one of the most passionate riders on our roads. He does not approve of what he describes as ‘riding for ladies’. Khabibi feels that there is a need for a racetrack in Botswana. In his view, that is the only place to learn how to ride a motorcycle properly. He says that it is easy for a rider to look good in a straight line. However, he does not enjoy riding in a straight line. He enjoys what riders call the ‘twisties’ – the curves. He has fond memories of the late Norman Bingham, who mentored him on the art of riding the twisties.  The late rider earned high praise for his abilities and passion from Khabibi.