BY MARK WIJSMAN (STAFF MEMBER FROM HOLLAND) *Photos by Mark Wijsman and Louise Peacock
Most western countries our volunteers come from are spoiled with endless events, concert tours and festivals. With the international melting pot Cape Town has become, you’d suspect the interest of big international artists to be a bit higher. When the announcement was made, a few months ago, that Coldplay was coming to South Africa, Capetonians went wild and the rush for tickets was incredible. Hosted at Cape Town’s own World Cup Stadium, 60 000 people were made the lucky ones to be able to experience one of the world’s biggest bands of the last 10 years.
The excitement really mounted a week before the concert. Radio stations had Coldplay’s albums on repeat and social media sites were flooded with statuses of people either unable to hold back their enthusiasm or fans just making others jealous of the fact they were in possession of a ticket.
Hours prior to the concert, bars in Green Point filled up with passionate fans and the front row junkies already lined up at the stadium from the early afternoon. On the Mediterranean-warm night, incoming flocks of people were kept busy by one of South Africa’s most famous bands, the Parlotones. They played a very entertaining and extensive set prior to Chris Martin and co.’ s arrival, whilst everyone kept busy controlling their nerves and filling up with drinks and snacks.
When the sun set, it was time for the real deal: Coldplay opened their set spectacularly with a massive lightshow and a few of their most famous songs. Despite the magnitude of Cape Town Stadium, slower and more personal songs were kept ...
So today was my first activity day (Sundays are for resting) and I didn’t find the ridiculously early 6AM start as difficult as I’d thought…
The first activity of the day was a 2.5km trek in search of crocodiles in the Limpopo River in order to start a population census of the number of crocs in the area. We spotted a few pairs of eyes glaring up at us on the bank and a whoppers bathing in the sun, luckily, on the opposite bank!
After that we headed the 2.5km back to camp for some well earned lunch! Yes family and friends, I walked 5km and that was just an early morning stroll!
During the midday heat a few of us read in the sun whilst some went in the swimming pool which Karen and Peter had cleaned the day before.
Late afternoon we all piled into the jeep and drove the long bumpy journey to the Elephant Hide at Elephant Springs. Once there we split up into two teams; one group went predator tracking, looking for signs of the leopard we know is in the area as well as the brown and spotted hyenas which are milling around. I was in the second group which stayed behind to make the Hide more ‘hideable’ as I had so eloquently put it. We managed to wrap and nail the shade cloth around the wooden structure twice before the completely unexpected lightening came followed by a huge storm – the wind nearly knocking me off of the high wall I was standing on hammering in the last of the nails at the time (so clearly it was very strong!).
The other group still wasn’t back despite Kieran and Sakaio’s attempts to whistle secret-spy-bird-call-style and finally in desperation honking the horn. We had just managed to pack the jeep ad get the sides down when they came running towards us. We jumped in and made tracks before the rain ...
I've been in South Africa for three weeks as of today, and it is absolutely beautiful here. I cannot wait to see what Cape town has to offer and the life experiences that are about to happen to me when I am at last Cape Town Bound in Just a Few Days. Wish me luck!
This has been, by far, the most exhausting week at the office. Because this time of year is notoriously quiet in terms of volunteer numbers, everyone seems to be under the pump with work to do - both on the legal front, for clients, and on the social justice projects.
Tash and Josie: working hard or hardly working?
On top of having a multitude of documents to draft for various clients (including two new refugee cases allocated to me this week), I spent almost all of today out of the office on various projects.
We spent the morning at Bonnytoun, this time working with boys from the Red Dorm (first or second-time offenders, usually in for lesser crimes). We wanted to do something more creative with the boys today. Because they love rap and hip-hop music, we wanted to find a rap song to play them and then get them to write their own. However, sourcing a "positive" rap song with nil swearing and which isn't an ode to violence is easier said than done; in the end we played them TI's "Follow Your Dreams", which they really liked. Working in small groups, the boys then had to write a rap song (which they may later perform). I was very proud of the boys in my group, who wrote a rap in Afrikaans (and even choreographed some dance moves)! The song is about a boy who spends his days hanging out on the street corner; one day he mugs a man and beats him, then he feels so terrible that he finds the man and apologises to him. The boys have decided that they will write a few more verses - one about being in prison and another about what they want to do with their life after getting out - and sing it for me the next time we go to Bonnytoun. They really are very talented!
From Bonnytoun we went straight to the jewellery sale at St. Anne's (for all those ...
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