Even though I have only been in South Africa for one month, I feel at home here already. I might be living on the other side of the world – but my outlook on life in general is “Cape-centric”. In fact, that’s quite a strange experience. Maybe it has something to do with the weather… I can’t remember the last time I woke and wondered what the weather was going to be like. I don’t need to give it a second thought, as I know I can look forward to a day of lovely warm sunshine. Just like every day. I therefore slip into my flip-flops, throw on some casual clothes and rush to catch the Jammie Shuttle, a bus service that operates between residences and the campuses. Ten minutes later I arrive at the University of Cape Town – a fine example of imposing colonial architecture nestling at the foot of Table Mountain.
The first lecture of the day is ‘Poverty, Development and Globalisation’. Quite different from the lectures I’m used to at ISM. While globalisation at ISM is generally seen from a competitive and market-seeking perspective, I’m confronted here with the consequences of globalisation for countries such as South Africa. And they are not always positive. The things that take place in these rooms will stay in my memory forever: an open exchange between cultures, faculties and students.
This is followed by a speech from a local businesswoman who has established a start-up with women from the townships. Today she’s talking about character development in employment, group behaviour and motivational strategies – using her own firm, Kayelitsha Cookies, as an example. To top off the event, we have the opportunity to taste some of the biscuits. Everyone tends to think outside the box here. And it’s something that definitely rubs off on you.
Once all the lectures are over, I decide to relax and spend lunch with some friends at our favourite restaurant. Yes, you did hear me correctly. “Winding down the university day at lunchtime.” Seeing as the lectures finish at midday three times a week, it has almost become something of a daily ritual.
Fifteen minutes later while enjoying a burger we have the difficult task of choosing between going surfing or climbing. Today, climbing is on the menu. So we pack our stuff and head off to a rock face south of town that offers fantastic views of the entire Cape Flats.
After returning home in the evening, it painfully dawns on all of us that free time comes at a high price. With an essay deadline in the morning, I prepare for a long night of coffee and heavy eyelids. It’s slowly but surely becoming a habit. But I’ll have time to catch up on my sleep back in Germany.