Shape-Shifting during our first week in Cape Town

Us (Team SUI 5) in Cape Town

The thrill of this outpost lies in setting up our home base and creating our association while finding ease in the unknown. We want to learn by doing. Despite the cultural change and the unknown in the adventure, we want to keep our energy high and our hearts bright. We invite you to travel with us, and we will mirror some questions, we are asking ourselves, to create more affinity in the sharing of our story.

By Doménica Toro

We landed on the February 20th, 2018 in Cape Town (CT) South Africa. Once we started to explore the new lands, different individual needs surfaced. I will share some examples: David mentioned a feeling of tension since Cape Town is known to be as save as candies in a kid’s pocket. We were advised to be alert and aware of the places we entered specially at night. Feeling save and trusting the people while being vigilant was a dance between fear of thievery and curiosity for the new environment.

Half of our team was going to share an apartment in the city centre, but they still needed to sign their contract and needed to buy furniture for their place. You can imagine that living in a noisy hostel and eating out for an entire week made our navigation time stormy. For example, it was essential for Melina, one of us, to cook her own food to her life quality. When we travel or stay in another place we all need key aspects of our ‘normal’ life that make us come alive. We wonder,

‘’What adds to your life quality?‘’

We are also eager to use the outpost as an opportunity to redesign our life and cultivate our passions. Ulrik was going to start piano lessons; Steve (South African and local to Cape Town) wanted to come back as a person that is new to CT, Doménica went for healing her back, and Mandisa was working on becoming clearer on her purpose for the next years.

Home base in Ava Gallery

In the meantime, we were also working on our team space that is located at the Ava gallery. Since the space is in a art gallery, we were motivated and hands-on on designing a creative residence. Each of us voiced one need and one want, which were collected by the decoration team. Buying material and prototyping the room with what we had in the fridge from the previous outpost was intense, but enjoyable work.

We are all part of each other’s memories

The same way we own our space we want to take ownership of the outpost and make it our own. Therefore, we are curious about:

’’How do you manage and design your working space for it to be life-growing?’’

Outside of our team space, we immersed ourselves into a colorful culture. The stereotype of the South African time is relaxing and challenging at the same time. People can tell you ‘’you will get it just now…’’. Which means in about half an hour. We learned about cultural intelligence before traveling to the outpost but remembering how things are different here was a matter of practice.

For moving around the city for example you have 4 options. 1) With your own or rented car, which could be hard to park. 2) By foot, which allows you to enjoy the weather. 3) With an Uber which is fast, precise, but more expensive compared to the public transport. 4) Public transport buses, which one out of three tend to be on time, if they even come. If you happened to come to Cape Town, remember, if you don’t make the driver a hand sign he will not stop.

We also saw some newness in the ‘’minivan Taxis’’- competitive, loud, hurried and packed with people. They are an alternative transport system which has more of a street-wise market culture. Luckily, these noisy fellows, beside being quite an experience on its own, were faster than the normal buses.

Adventure rides in minivan taxis

At the end of our first week, we are feeling a change in our energy. At the beginning it was hard to feel grounded, but the energy slowly shifted into more purposeful, enthusiastic action. Now that we have completed the small basket (name of our assignment bundle given by the school) with tasks such as creating the communication structure, pre-paring our networking event to connect to Cape Town, interior designing our home base, etc. we move into setting up our organization. During three days we will be in Rocherpan Nature Reserve at the West Coast, creating our organizational structure, vision, and time line.

Our home in Rocherpan Nature Reserve

After sharing about how we started our life in CT on an individual and team level, we will leave you for now with the following question:

’Where is home?’’

If you feel like connecting with us or sharing your insights on the questions, please write us:


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