Jan 2018 - Sep 2019
I arrived at the Cape Town International airport on the 3rd of February 2019 for our Inclusive Business in Africa elective. I met Frank, a taxi driver who helped me get to the University of Cape Town’s Graduate Business School. He gave me a first-hand account of the history of South Africa and the aftermath of the apartheid policy. During the trip to the business school, you can’t help but notice the magnificent Table mountains and the seemingly abandoned Robben Islands, where Mr. Mandela spent 27 years in prison. I joined my colleagues for an exciting lecture at the business school.
The Langa lelapa Township
We spent our first evening in the Langa Lelapa township after a very welcoming and informative session at the UCT’s business school campus. The township had a rather humble setting compared to the exclusive waterfront area where we had our first session and the camps bay villas where my friends and I stayed for the module. Nevertheless, it was the first of many memorable dinner experiences we were going to have. Our host, Sheila welcomed us to her home and shared very deep insights on her life and the challenges she went through to establish her restaurant. We were treated to some great traditional music on the Xylophone and danced all evening amidst a buffet of antelope and ostrich meat.
On day two, we travelled to Philippi village, a poor community at the far end of the city with lots of informal settlements. Amongst the Shack settlements were these colorful well-arranged containers which provided safe working spaces for most of the informal settlers in the community. The highlight of this visit was the inspirational work by Silulo Technologies, a social enterprise that was bringing ICT training and services to the informal settlers. We had the opportunity to meet one of its co-founders, Mr. Luvuyo. He shared his experience and motivation for setting up this successful ICT company that had survived the odds and become a household name in the country. We were really inspired when we joined one of the training sessions with all those lovely students beaming with hope as they were being trained in office administration. We ended the day with an insightful talk by Andrew Canter at Work and Co and drinks with Oxford Alumni.
District Six Museum Tour and dinner at Bo Kaap township
After our first lecture in the Bandwith band co-working space on the second day, we moved to the District Six Museum. District Six was previously home to the most diverse group of people in Cape Town and is remembered for how the whites evicted people of color, demolished their buildings and rebuilt the place. Our guide, who had first hand experience of the events gave us a detailed account of what happened. We all left the museum saddened by the history of District Six. We however continued to the historic Bo Kaap township where our most enterprising host, Faldela, led us to prepare our own dinner – chicken curry and samosa amongst other dishes.
Table Mountain Hike
On day three, we were introduced to a very successful digital education company, Getsmarter, founded by two students from the University of Cape Town. Getsmarter runs short online courses in partnership with top universities in the world and was bought by 2U for over $100m. We also visited the Zoona’s head office, another African success story with a platform that enables people to transfer and receive money mainly in Zambia but with their head office in Cape Town.
Our preplanned trip to the Robben Islands had been cancelled because of unfavorable weather conditions and a couple of us took advantage of our free afternoon and went hiking to the very top of the Table mountains. We experienced an amazing view of the entire city from the mountains. It was adventurous and exciting to say the least. You should definitely do a hike on the mountains when you visit the Cape, it leaves an imprint on the mind that makes one craving for more. We returned to an awe-inspiring experience at the Fugard theatre for a musical play based on the events of the apartheid era.
I love Coffee
Thursday was a long day in the class with Aunnie Patton Power, our Course Convenor. We had key resource persons from the impact investing field to enlighten us on what was happening within this space in Africa. On Friday morning, we visited OCZF, a beautiful urban agriculture setup practicing inclusive agriculture. With the help of worms called Bokashi, they convert urban food waste into compost which is used mainly on the urban farms to support crop and vegetable growth. Their setup is also used as an Agric resource center for students. Finally, we visited ‘I love coffee’, a company that had trained deaf persons to prepare and serve coffee, thereby providing employment opportunities to them. I love coffee was a great example of truly inclusive business. Then we had some wonderful relaxing Rooibos tea we were served to end the program.
This was truly an amazing week with a remarkable host. I have only focused on a few fun areas, however there was much more! The module was well planned, well thought through and well organized. It was educative, informative and fun. We met great people, great entrepreneurs and great professors. We bonded together, studied together, and had fun together. Inclusiveness, Innovation, Technology and Impact galore – Don’t miss it for anything!Back to top of article