Written by Ward Vrints.
With few among the participants successfully surviving an extra early yoga class, another quick breakfast in our stomachs, we jumped once again during rush hour in crowded third class wagons towards Retreat, while entertained by an soulful African preacher. This neighbourhood is located fairly far out of the city in the touristically unattractive suburbs.
Today it was our destination anyway, as African Monitor, our host of the day, has its international headquarters based in this area. The pan-African think-tank works around effectiveness of foreign aid without focusing how much of ‘our’ Euros actually arrive, but rather on how they lead to substantive development. Indeed, another approach than the one most of us are used to the think-tank, possessing of a quite fancy office, welcomed us in a very warm manner.
After their presentation, as well as one of AEGEE (with another successful attempt to pronounce the full French name), AIESEC, UTRS and ARESTA, we had the possibility of asking any question we wanted concerning the development of world’s most underrated continent and its aid inflow. With many of the questions raising a multiple of new ones, we rapidly ran into our time limits and finished the morning session with a lunch.
With nothing organized for the afternoon, the group was split as a part of us decided to head to the District 6 Museum, whereas another group went to explore the Waterfront. Both very famous spots in Cape Town, but we had not managed to see them yet. The time it took us to eventually, one week after arrival, see the water of the Atlantic Ocean, was worth it. With a nice blend of esplanades, boulevards with palm trees, restaurants, picture hunting tourists and a ship and yacht here and there, it deserved the glory it gets. District 6, the museum, was definitely interesting, but unexpectedly small. However, it is a must visit as every grasp of acquired information concerning the apartheid regime is essential for every single human being.
The early evening was filled with a content-related reflection on the activities of the past week. We focused on the difference in importance and approach, and thus the complementarity of all the different organizations we worked with. We basically built up lots of new knowledge due to the diversity in the perspectives among them.
After a tiring yet refreshingly innovative session, many among us rewarded themselves with another step into Cape Townian nightlife.