Lindsey Ricker
Lindsey Ricker
South Africa 2012-2014
My studies at Belmont University in restorative justice, liberation theology, entrepreneurship, and philosophical ethics guided me to explore South Africa through an interdisciplinary lens. Academic and experiential work in these fields prepared me for a year in Cape Town interning in human rights, business consulting, and sustainable development. Read More About Lindsey →

Local Community Engagement Beyond the Workplace

When planning my year in South Africa, one of my highest priorities was to connect with locals outside of work. While my internship works directly with the local community, I wanted to engage with the local community at a deeper level, outside of my placement. However, I knew this would be difficult since I don’t own a car and would be restricted to public transportation and cabs, I would be living with a community of mostly Americans (which is comfortable and familiar), and I knew no South Africans before I arrived.

Now here I am, six months later and halfway through my stay. I have just moved in with three South Africans and one Columbian, I commute to work on the train from my neighborhood (Observatory), and am fortunate enough to have several South African friends. While it was easy, at first, to spend my time with the other Americans/foreigners, I now feel just as comfortable with my South African friends.

Apart from developing relationships with South African friends, I have also been able to maintain relationships with my former co-workers at TSiBA. My manager at TSiBA, said that his wife was asking about me and wanted to see if I could come stay the weekend with their family. I enthusiastically accepted and went for a weekend stay with the Olivers and their three daughters. When I arrived to their house, they had a women’s group from their church over. They women cackled at my attempts to cut a cucumber quickly, in small pieces. They called the large, lopsided slices “international cuts.” The next morning we went to a service at the Oliver’s church. I ended up sitting beside a male cousin of the Olivers and nearly caused a scandal. It seems as though genders are usually fairly separate and my proximity to a single man my age lead to tons of gossip in Afrikaans (most of which was fairly obvious to understand, much to their disbelief). When the sermon started I was surprised at first. On the way home I told my manager that I didn’t think I realized that he was the preacher even though the women were calling him pastor the day before.

At the SAHRC, I am just getting to know my new colleagues since I have only been interning for the organization for two months. I find that I am starting to get to know them better and feeling comfortable with my work assignments. My manager, also asked me the other day how my new commute was going from Observatory. I told her that I have a renewed love for trains (which initiated from Harry Potter of course). On my way to work that morning I saw a little league of cricket players in uniforms in the station. They were adorable. Apparently, in winter I will also start to see amusing entrepreneurship ventures. When the weather is cold and rainy, vendors will sell bras and underwear to passengers who are completely soaked when umbrellas blow out. Hopefully things will not get too desperate.

Recent Events

Recently, I have been restless. Living in Cape Town city center without a car confines me to commuting on public transportation and mooching off of friends with cars. Obviously both are quite limiting and leave little in my control. Living here without a car removes the independence and privilege I have taken for granted growing up in the States. My discontent was a strong motivation for me to take some opportunities spending time outside of the city.

The end of summer brings about an urgency to appreciate nature and venture to other recommended outdoor locations and activities. Lately, I have been able to explore Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, Sea Point, and Crystal Pools. Apart from these adventures, I have also been able to attend a Disabilities Expo created by my friend Cathy Arendse.

I planned a mini road trip to Noordhoek Beach, which of course did not happen. Instead, a day later a group of my friends and I ended up on the beach in Fish Hoek. While I still have not made it to Noordhoek, I had a lovely day in a new area with delightful company. After enjoying the sun, we had fish ‘n chips in Kalk Bay before I met up with some family friends visiting Cape Town. I also got the chance to indulge in Kalk Bay’s delicious cuisine when my friend Nicole’s family friend, Tiffany was in town. We ate at an eclectic restaurant called Brass Bell for dinner and relaxed while watching the waves crash against the shore.

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My friend, Will, designed my next extravagant plan which involved taking the cable car up Table Mountain, hiking across the mountain, and down through the Nursery Ravine trail to Kirstenbosch to work merchandise with GreenPop at the Jeremy Loops concert. This plan actually happened, much to my surprise, and it was one of my favorite days here so far. The hike was beautiful and I spotted some of my favorite African animals—dassies! The hike took about four hours; slightly shorter than estimated. Will and I were motivated to make it to the concert in plenty of time to hear Jeremy’s upbeat tunes and mad harmonica skills. We got into the gardens and concert free because we walked to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens through Table Mountain, and we got into the concert free since my friend Will works at GreenPop. Previously, my friends Lauren and Hannah also interned at GreenPop, introducing me to the wonders of “green living” in Cape Town. While I knew GreenPop was a great organization, I had never heard the CEO, Jeremy Loops’ music, and was blown away by his wonderful performance at the concert.

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March seems to be the month for concerts. I also went to a tiny venue in a lounge of a house in Sea Point called Studio 7. It was there that I hear some of the best blues music I have ever come across. Dan Patlansky brought the house down. He was so talented that we later bought tickets in Kirstenbosch to another performance on his tour. We didn’t quite make it to actually hear him play, as most plans go here, but we did make it in time to hear a band that is basically the South African version of Creed. Hilarious. Furthermore, it was a beautiful venue and a lovely way to spend the public holiday, Human Rights Day. The day started through a bold move to rent an automatic car and drive to hike Crystal Pools. While I haven’t driven in six months, I decided that I would probably be to my advantage to forget driving on the right hand side during my left hand side adventure. It was surprisingly much easier than I anticipated. I drove 157km, parallel parked, parked in a tight space, drove into a small garage, filled up the tank of gas, crossed traffic, and drove on the highway without any misfortune finding me or my road trip pals. It gives me hope for more such trips and potentially renting a car for a longer period of time.

Finally, the last significant event I have attended lately was a Disabilities Expo held at CPUT Bellville campus and hosted by an organization called Nicky’s Drive. The purpose of the event was to inform the public about barriers created through physical disabilities and discuss potential solutions. My friend Cathy Arendse was the main organizer of the event, which showcased the founder of Nicky’s Drive, Nicky Abdino. Nicky is a clinical psychologist who was born without arms and with shortened legs. She drives herself anywhere she wants to go. Through fundraising and progress in technology, engineers were able to build a shoulder steering mechanism for Nicky to have independence in mobility. In addition, I was able to met Cathy’s former Fulbright mentors from Vanderbilt who also spoke at the event. The event was so uplifting, insightful, and influential; it made me far more grateful to be able to travel independently with or without a car.

Busy Beginnings at the SAHRC

My work at the Western Cape (WC) providence South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) could not have started any faster. Work at the SAHRC has been fairly hectic[1] so far, causing me significant stress to work quickly and perform at high standards. I couldn’t be happier, though, because I feel that my skills are being fully utilized and challenged. Also, my experiences at the SAHRC have already given me hope that social justice and reconciliation are still happening in South Africa. Furthermore, I am so glad I am working at more than one organization and position. I would not have had as deep of an experience if I had limited myself to only one internship, industry, and organization—no matter which placement it was.

So far, the majority of my work has been in relation to issues within farm dweller communities. In several of the WC’s rural towns, farm workers have recently been conducting strikes to raise awareness of violations of their human and legal rights pertaining to labor, housing, education, policing/justice, social security, and transportation. Unfortunately, many of these strikes have turned violent, often through police-initiated brutality. In relation to farm dweller rights, my work has consisted of:

  • Creating a report on my research of historical and current farm dweller issues, relevant regulatory bodies, related stakeholders, and citing of each reference
  • Meeting with stakeholders including the Department of Agriculture, Women on Farms, PLAAS, LHR, Cheadle Thompson & Haysom Inc. Attorneys, Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, SPP, Mawubuye LRM, and CSAAWU for a roundtable discussion about the issues surrounding farm dweller communities to map current problems and stakeholder responsibilities.
  • Summarizing the stakeholder meeting in a report to SAHRC headquarters in Jo’burg
  • Writing and editing the stakeholder meeting minutes and contact details to be sent to each participant
  • Visiting de Doorns[2] to assist with complainant interviews

My other responsibilities at the SAHRC include:

  • Visiting Parliament to listen to the SAHRC presentation on Water and Sanitation Findings to the Department of Human Settlements
  • Meeting regularly with the WC staff and legal officers working on farm dwellers’ rights
  • Reading several newspapers daily to identify and file human rights issues for future research
  • Training for the filing and input of new complainants
  • Assisting administrative duties by answering calls and managing complainant intake
  • Logging detailed minutes of my daily work

It is hard to believe that I’ve been working at the SAHRC for less than a month. I am intrigued to see what other issues I will work with later. Thus far, my manager has been very present and communicated openly about the importance of balancing the Commission’s needs with my own personal and professional goals. I am looking forward to see what else I learn through my new placement.

[1] One of South Africans most overused and improperly used words

[2] De Doorns is a rural community past Worcester that has experienced a significant amount of police violence

The Rickers Explore Kruger and Vic Falls

After a busy four-ish days exploring Cape Town, my family and I flew to Thornybush Game Lodge for a Ricker fam safari experience. I was slightly skeptical of this choice, since I thought it would mostly just be a cheesy tourist trap or a fancy zoo. Instead, I was delightfully surprised to find a beautifully simplistic lodge with a warm and welcoming staff. The game drives were long and relaxing; our driver and spotter had to spend a significant amount of time analyzing animal tracks since the bush was so thick. Below are some pictures from the safari.

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After spending two nights in Kruger, my family ventured to Livingstone, Zambia to see Victoria Falls. Our highlight was a lunch excursion to Livingstone Island. The island, located in the middle of the Zambezi River which runs between the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia, sits on the edge of the falls. Vic Falls stretches over a mile from one side to the other during this season, standing over 300m high. The local name for the falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya or in English, “the smoke that thunders.”

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Apart from the tourist areas, Livingstone is significantly less western and developed compared to South Africa and especially Cape Town. I really enjoyed seeing a different part of Africa, but I missed the Western Cape a little. I left Zambia with a strong desire to travel more outside of the Western Cape providence and beyond South Africa’s borders.

While I will not be traveling home during my year abroad, it was so refreshing for my parents and I to be reunited. There were able to meet my friends and see this part of the world through their own eyes. There is only so much one can say about a place, culture and people. It is fulfilling to bring others across the globe to experience the world for themselves.

Ricker Family Vaca, Part One: Cape Town

The Rickers at Victoria Falls
The Rickers at Victoria Falls

My parent’s plane landed at 9pm in Cape Town on Friday, February 8. When they exited the plane, they found me waiting with a box of Butler’s pizza, two soft drinks, a package of ginger cookies, and a hug. My mother chattered excitedly on the way to the hotel, but my father was unfortunately suffering from a sinus infection. When we arrived to the hotel I found heaven: a room of my own! Thus far I have been very fortunate to have a flat that is centrally located, in nice conditions and with fairly normal roommates. However, the wind is so loud that I have to wear ear plugs to sleep. I almost never sleep past 8 am since the sun wakes me up through the blinds. Also, there is no a/c or heat, and I have shared a room most of the time, detracting from the relatively little space and privacy I have (but adding enjoyment since the people I have shared a room with have been nice).  While I have not missed these privileges too much, it was luxurious to have them again for a short time while staying in hotels with my family at the Southern Sun.

For my parent’s first day in Cape Town, we had a tour scheduled for the Cape Point Peninsula. The tour winds through one of the most beautiful drives in the Western Cape and includes mostly outdoor entertainment, so naturally it was raining. We still had a nice time, since the point of our trip was to be together more than it was to tour South Africa.

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Our first stop was in Hout Bay, a town on the coast with a nice harbor and market. We explored the port before going on Drum Beat boat tours to Seal Island. My manager at TSiBA, comes from Hout Bay and knew the owner of Drum Beat tours, Levi Bezuidenhoudt. The Drum Beat took us on a tour around a large rock were heaps of seals bask in the rain or sunshine.

Simons Town was our next stop so we could visit Boulders Beach with the African Penguin colony. It was magical. However, I want to tour the entire Cape Peninsula again since the rain put a damper on the beautiful landscape. After a fairly wet stop a Cape Point for lunch, we headed back towards our final destination: a braai (BBQ) at my manager, my manager’s house with our colleagues and their families.This was one of the best moments of the trip since my family was able to have a local experience while meeting my friends and coworkers.





Each night in Cape Town we ate dinner with a different set of friends, so my parents could better understand what my life is like here. After our tour of Paarl, Franchhoek, and Stellenbosch (the winelands), we had dinner with my friends Rachel, Cathy and William Arendse, and their daughter Kaylee.

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Our final dinner was with my friends Nthabi, Bertin, Ethan, Will, Lusanda, and her husband Issac after a day touring the city. Our dinners were a great way to end the day, because they reminded me how generous, hospitable, and kind South African can be. I am truly lucky to have found such lovely people.                     Ricker Fam in Africa 031 Ricker Fam in Africa 032 Ricker Fam in Africa 033 Ricker Fam in Africa 036


33.33% Capetonian

Four months. It seems so strange that I have been away from the States for this long. Four months also marks my end of TSiBA, my start at the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), and my family’s visit to South Africa. My first placement has gone by better than I could have hoped for, but I am glad it is not the end of my experiences here. I still need more time and a change of industry to learn more about South African culture, society, history, and future growth.

My team at the Ignition Centre has been like a family. We collaborate closely and genuinely care about each other. The IC has been one of the most positive forces in my South African experience thus far. The office’s humor and creativity has encouraged me to think about entrepreneurship in a more collaborative mentality. My conversations with my colleagues have revealed to me the ways in which South Africans identify and seek to improve local and national social issues.

The largest differences I have seen in South African and western philosophies of social justice are each culture’s perception of poverty. While many Americans’ measurement of poverty is shifting, charity overwhelmingly is used improperly in place of justice due to a belief that poverty is a lack of material wealth. While people in poverty often lack material necessities, many South Africans I work with view poverty as a lack of dignity. This is demonstrative through the aphorism posted on the wall of the Ignition Centre stating “You may be broke, but you are not poor.” Several of my coworkers live in the townships that appear shocking destitute to many Americans—and sometimes they choose to live there. The communities are their homes and the ekasi (the word for township in Xhosa) culture makes up part of the community members’ identity. While living conditions are a direct factor into a population’s standard of living, social issues surrounding housing need to be addressed at physical, intellectual, sociological, spiritual, and emotional levels rather than just throwing money at a problem without proper consideration. While this opinion is not completely foreign to the American mind, I have observed it more frequently here.

My next placement at the SAHRC will also address social and ethical issues in a South African context as I work in the legal division. I anticipate working with legal counselors, interviewing victims of human rights violations and moving through the process of reconciling their complaint.  I also hope to start practicing alternative dispute resolution by assisting the mediation of these cases. SAHRC also has a policy branch, so I am also hoping to visit parliament hearings and report on the minutes.

However, before I transition to the SAHRC, my parents are visiting me for a little over a week. We will be exploring Cape Town, going on safari drives in Kruger Park, and visiting Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia. Please wish us health, safety, and nice weather as we reunite and experience Africa as a family.

Current Affairs at TSiBA Education

Since my start at TSiBA, I have worked on several projects assiting with the solidification of key partnerships. I now see that the, the Ignition Centere’s (IC) work in 2012 is coming to fruition. Until now, due to business sensitive information and unconfirmed commitments, I was unable to share about these partnerships. This year, the University of Stellenbosch (USB) and Business Partners have agreed to work with TSiBA.

To enhance their mission to support Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) and community empowerment through entrepreneurship, USB created a new initiative called the Kyaplain Project. The university will utilize alumni from its business program to mentor entrepreneurs from the Kyalitscha and Mitchell’s Plain townships. Their mentorship will supplement several weeks of accelerated business classes supplied by TSiBA’s IC. As indicated in this article, USB is one of the most prestigious universities on the continent; therefore, the partnership is ideal for TSiBA. Although, TSiBA and USB’s partner is also advantageous for USB because TSiBA is a leader in teaching accelerated courses to survivalist and mirco enterprises.

Like TSiBA’s IC, Business Partners also works to support South African entrepreneurs. However, Business Partners works on a much larger scale and they specialize in capital investments more than business education, compared to TSiBA. As demonstrated through this Prezi I created, TSIBA and Business Partners will work together to increase TSiBA’s service offerings by use of Business Partners mentors, an Small Medium Micro-sized Enterprises (SMME) software toolkit, and capital donations for student company awards. The Prezi also shows what TSiBA’s core program activities are and how entrepreneurship is implemented throughout the degree program.

TSiBA’s BBA degree has three stages of entrepreneurship courses: Entrepreneurship 1 (ENT 1), Entrepreneurship 2 (ENT 2), and Innovations and Knowledge Management 3 (INN 3). Initially, Business Partners wills collaborate with TSIBA’s ENT 2 class. Later, the Ignition Center hopes to have Business Partners work closer with other core activities like the TSIBA/Northeastern University community engagement program. Each summer NU comes for two weeks to TSiBA to assess the businesses of community entrepreneurs while learning more about the South African cultural context. Ideally, Business partners can potentially incubate several of the feasible business models in their hatchery.

Both partnerships have great potential for expansion and will probably last several years to assess the success of the collaboration. I certainly came at a good time to network with other organizations cultivating entrepreneurship in the South African economy. I have not consulted as many businesses as I anticipated, but I have instead spent most of my time writing proposals, creating presentations, and meeting with community partners. The diversity of my work has allowed me to hear many narratives about the South African entrepreneur’s experience, which I find invaluable.

A Transitory Time

Due to the nature of my program, Connect-123, most interns stay only 2-3 months. Since my arrival (nearly 4 months ago), I have already had to say several goodbyes and now have a new group of interns to meet. For one of my closest friend’s farewell, we went to an eclectic restaurant called Bombay Bicycle. The seats of our table were actually swings, adding to the bohemian ambiance.

Hannah, Ashley and me at Bombay Bicycle

Swing seats!

For Hannah’s last day, we also decided to hike at Crystal Pools. The path is a lovely trek through a gorge by the sea. The trail runs between two mountains up to a series of pools created by mountain springs. Hannah and I were not so sure we were going to make it, though, because we failed to rent a car after two days of unsuccessful attempts. Apparently you need a credit card and driver’s license in the same name; shocking I know. (Of course, after cleaning my room on Sunday, I found my license.) We ended up taking the train to Strand where my generous and spontaneous friend, Cathy transported Hannah and me to the nature reserve. We finally were able to spend the day lounging beside a waterfall, while other trekkers passed us by as they cliff-jumped from pool to pool.

Hannah’s last day in South Africa

Crystal Pools!

Much warmer than Clifton, but what isn’t

Since Hannah and others departures, I have just begun to meet the new interns. On Saturday, several of us (through my persuasion) decided to try an Ethiopian Restaurant on Long Street called Timbuktu. To find the restaurant we had to follow a series of dark passageways, finally leading us to a small balcony. Due to low lighting and a late dinner, we had to guess at what each clumps of food were. Afterwards, most of us decided that it was the best, sketchy Ethiopian food found in Cape Town so far. However, one intern said she enjoyed the speak-easy music, but she wasn’t a fan of mysterious Ethiopian meat.

While it is sad to see my friends leave, it is refreshing to explore Cape Town anew with the latest interns.

Road Trip!

Day one on the Garden Route with Rachel at the Outeniqua Mountain Pass.

After discovering that Madagascar was not covered in lemurs as certain movies might suggest, I decided to spend my last week of summer vacation exploring the Garden Route. Rachel and my strategy was to get most of our traveling out of the way now, while we are on break, so we won’t have to ask off of work very often for the rest of the year. Since TSiBA’s academic calendar runs on a semester schedule, I was able to spend five days with Rachel and five other travelers on a tour called Bokbus. The trip went from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and back, exposing us to some of the loveliest parts of the country.

Once I discovered that Tolkien was born in South Africa, I have imposed Lord of the Rings imagery everywhere. I perceive these to be the Misty Mountains.

Wilderness, a small town in the Western Cape at the beginning of the Garden Route

“Map of Africa”

Our fearless leader and bus driver Benjamin was an absolute gem. He diplomatically handled our one disgruntled passenger, while making sure the group had a nice experience. Benjamin led us through Oudtshroon, Wilderness, George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, The Crags, Tsitsikamma, Addo Elephant Sanctuary, Port Elizabeth, Mussel Bay, Hermanus, and Kogel Bay.

Tsitsikamma National Park

Suspension bridges

The Garden Route is famous for its gorgeous scenery while also providing a youthful, adventurous spirit. Road trip highlights include feeding ostriches, spelunking in the Cango Caves, bungee jumping from the world’s highest bungee from a bridge, feasting at the game lodge’s African animal buffet, hiking to Tsitsikamma’s suspension bridges, spotting dassies, getting out of the Western Cape, safari game drives, eating delicious seafood at Knysna’s waterfront, one night of air-conditioning, driving through Tolkien-esque mountain passes, and zip-lining over waterfalls.

Baby dassies!

World’s highest bungee off a bridge

Picture of Bloukrans Bridge by Face Adrenaline

Promo picture of Bloukrans Bridge by Face Adrenaline

Furthermore, the trip was even more enjoyable by spending time with Rachel and my co-passengers from the Netherlands, England, Australia, and South Africa. The community we formed by the end of the trip reinforced my hope to participate in group tours through other parts of the world in the future. However, for now I am content living in Cape Town and working at TSiBA.

The lemurs we never saw in Madagascar

The color of a male lion’s mane darkens with more testosterone, so apparently this is a pansy lion.

Baby tigers playing


Happy Holidays from Sub-Saharan Africa

Johannesburg has invaded Cape Town. High heels and designer brands attached to a Jo’burg accent are easily distinguishable among the Capetonian trendy flats and plaid. Cape Town and Durban are often the annual holiday destinations of preference among Jo’burg professionals. In the spirit of Jo’burg’s holiday traveling traditions, another Connect-123 intern and I decided to get out of Cape Town and explore other parts of the country and the continent. In eleven days we were able to briefly explore a new South African city and two new countries. Leaving from the Durban port, Rachel and I went on a Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) cruise to Madagascar and Mozambique.

The trip was not funded by Lumos, and while it was a good price for what we were able to do, I still hesitated on spending money on extravagant travels. In the end I obviously still went on the trip, but as my friend Jennifer advised, I decided to approach the trip with the goal to share these parts of the world with others while being mindful of how I spend money and participate in new cultures.

To experience different parts of Durban city center, Rachel and I stayed in two parts of the city. Before we embarked on the cruise, we spent two nights at Gibela Backpackers Lodge located near Florida Street. This was a lucky guess since we ended up in a neighborhood with several shops and restaurants to explore. Also, Durban has the highest population of Indians outside of India, so we made sure to capitalize on the delicious Indian curries found around town.

Gibela Backpacker Lodge

Gibela highly exceeded my expectations

Apart from the curry, Durban is also famous for the Victoria Street Market, which offers a fusion of African and Indian goods. We found the market to sell more touristy merchandise than authentic good, so that was a slight disappointment. However, the experience was well worth it. In Cape Town, the colonial Dutch and British influences are strong and can sometimes overtake the African culture. Durban is far less westernized and the area surrounding the Victoria Street Market made me feel like I was in a completely different country than Cape Town.


The MSC Opera

The ship deck

A view of a sunset at sea

With scrumptious seafood in our bellies, Rachel and I set off on a six day MSC cruise stopping in Anakoa, Madagascar and Portuguese Island, Mozambique. We soon discovered that our cruise companions were a diverse range of nationalities, races, and ages. Also, we did not hear any other American accents the entire time. Since the cruise was over Christmas, there were many families on board, along with endless Christmas music, and ridiculous Christmas outfits worn by the staff while they paraded and hosted a Christmas countdown that was about 10 minutes before midnight.

We were able to engage with two South Africans for the majority of the time through our dining assignments. We were seated at a table with a South African young couple from Pretoria. Fia and Kobus were lovely dining companions and joined us for several events and excursions. We found their company especially entertaining since we don’t usually have the chance to interact with white Afrikaners, so it was interesting to hear their perspectives about domestic and international current affairs.

To manage the 2,000 passengers while at sea, MSC sponsored voluntary organized group activities for a majority of the time. Most of these activities were wildly cheesy, giving Rachel and me ample entertainment to look upon. To highlight the ridiculous events, you must first look to Arrested Development as a reference. If you haven’t watched the show, quickly acquaint yourself with Arrested Development Job, the Alliance certified Magician. MSC hosted a magic show with an Italian magician that not only looked like Job, but actually had similar mannerisms as well. It was magical.

Also, my love for karaoke was fulfilled through the show, “MSC Stars” (aka American Idol). In the theater, Rachel and I looked on with Fia and Kobus as we watched some lovely and terrible musical performances. We heard songs from the musical styles of Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus, and Duffy. Hilarious.

Along with cheesy magicians and horrible karaoke, I would also say that I am drawn to most choreography.  However, MSC’s group dance of “Wavin’ Flag” was too horrendous to participate in. Instead, I looked on and took pictures of the dreadful dance numbers. Enjoy:

This occurred everyday at the same time

Sometimes they danced the Cha Cha or the Mambo as well

Our first stop was in a small fishing village of Anakoa, Madagascar.

Anakoa, Madagascar

Locals at the port

A local woman spoke to me while selling jewelry. She only spoke French to me, so the conversation did not last long.

A couple days later we arrived to Portuguese Island. Mozambique.

Portuguese Island

Inhaca, Mozambique

Inhaca was just a short boat ride from Portuguese Island

Portugese Island has no residents, but Inhaca had these mysteriously shipwrecked and deserted boats

Clearly I was captivated

Finally, our return to Durban hit a slight rough patch. We had to disembark fairly early, leaving us with about five hours until we could check into our next location, the Happy Hippo Backpackers. We found our location to be lucky again since the lodging was situated in the nicer part of the Golden Mile (Durban’s famous strip of beaches and casinos). Rachel and I walked to Ushaka Marine World to find the closest coffee shop to read in while we waited to check into our room. Our priority was to find air conditioning to evade the humid Durban weather. The early time left us with KFC as our best option. My low point hit when Celine Dion came on the radio as I was reading The Book Thief (which has a terrible beginning and should never be read after J.R. R. Tolkien). Just when Celine ended, a massive parade filled the streets, rendering any attempts of reading fruitless.


Durban’s Golden Mile

One of the many, many, many parades I have seen since coming to South Africa. This is Ushaka’s interpretation of Zulu culture.

Real life Wizard’s Chess from Harry Potter! If only... but this match is between then funniest two people. Rachel and I really wish we saw how the game was initiated.

However, I was cheered up while watching a life size game of chess that resembled Wizard’s Chess in Harry Potter. After getting some rest, Rachel and I were able to mostly enjoy the beach, more curry and Ushaka Marine World before heading back to Cape Town.

This is why I said we mostly enjoyed the beach. Here is the part of the beach for surfers...

The portion of the beach reserved for swimmers. After being spoiled at Madagascar and Mozambique’s desolate beaches, we missed an open place to swim and sand that did not stick all over us.