The cold front forecasted over the weekend scheduled for 8:00 on 25th August was not a myth. At exactly 8am a downpour sent us all running for cover and abandoning the mission of the day. Hiking up Table Mountain is not for the faint hearted especially when it is wet and slippery and a mountain ranger discourages it in such conditions. The rain could be seen as a blessing on this hike because Bantu Hikers was hiking with the UCT Mastercard Foundation. Even though we did not occupy Table Mountain together it was an opportunity to connect in other ways that were just as meaningful. The bus was the next best thing and that is where #HikingOnTheBus was coined. Each participant introduced themselves sharing which country they are from, what they are studying and why. The diversity was mind-blowing and encouraging to see the enthusiasm in young people working towards innovative ideas of solving the continent’s issues at different scales. The introductions were especially meaningful to the Bantu Hikers high-school learners who have not been exposed to peers pursing careers they never thought existed.
UCT Kramer Building became the alternative space to occupy for rest of the morning. A combination of ingenuity, experience and resourceful of the facilitators proved to be a winning team to salvage the day. Two games designed at encouraging team work and reflecting on each person’s journey consumed most of the morning. The main group of about 50 was split into 5 groups each with students from the Mastercard Foundation, BH students and professional, with a task of building the highest tower of cards. Tough competition makes for great entertainment as each team fought for the winning spot, some oohs and aahs could be heard from different corners of the room as towers crumbled with each attempt to be the victor. The game was incredibly entertaining and interactive but it was also a learning moment coupled with reflections.
The second activity involved each participant drawing “a river of life” landscape with features that represent pivotal moments in their journey. These works of art were then shared and explained with the group drawing lessons particularly from professionals whose career journey provide key lessons for the student’s future.
All of us woke up with the hope of climbing a mountain, a suspicion that the weatherman may be correct this time around and a surprise at how everything eventually fell into place to be what it was meant to be. Many gems of wisdom were dropped that morning and if anyone picked just one then the whole exercise was well worth the effort.
We have set a new precedent, we also hike in busses, giving “occupying spaces” a new meaning. Bantu Hikers was also turning 3, entering a new space of growth and partnership with the UCT Mastercard Foundation. We are incredibly fortunate to have people like Prof Kgethi in the BH family and the support of our professionals, students sponsors and new friends we make along the way.
The next hike is at Tsitsikamma in the Eastern Cape, follow us on social media for this epic adventure.
Have a plan B. Table Mountain, Platteklip Trail in particular is not safe to hike when it rains.