Marije Elgersma | Yes, we do live in a big world. But!
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Six degrees of separation, is it true?

Yes, we do live in a big world. But!

Yes, we do live in a big world. But!

I first need to go back to 2014. This was the year, Ydwer & I went for the first time for 5 months to stay our Dutch winter in Cape Town.

For people who don’t know, but it’s an 11.5 hour flight, I usually don’t talk that much to people (you would think something else from me huh!) during the flight. I did talk to Ydwer :-). But the last 2 hours, I had a talk to the lady next to me. She was born in Muizenberg, but moved to The Netherlands. She started, Teachers for Africa Foundation / Stichting Docenten voor Afrika, a non-profit organization who is arranging education for kids in Townships.

We talked about this for a while, she then said to me, if I would be ever interested in visiting a Township, she could put me in touch with a girl who lives in Imizamo Yethu, near Houtbay. We exchanged email addresses and that was it.

But in the back of my head, it wasn’t. I was still interested in this girl. Who I thought was pro-active, she arranged for her self a way of an income. A little fast forward, my mum, dad and brother were coming to visit us that year for the first time. I had told them the story about our flight and they were interested as well.

I got in touch with the lady from the plane again and the next day I was in contact with Nandipha Breakfast. We emailed and set a date to visit her community and her house. We got a good explanation of where to be and at what time.

But the evening before we were going to Imizamo Yethu, we as a family had a discussion about if it was good to go or not. We felt insecure about it, we didn’t know if it was good or wrong. Looking in someones life, looking into someones community which is totally different then where we come from.

But I came back to the first thought I had in my head, when I heard about Nandipha. This girl is pro-active and is doing something for her family to create an income.

So the next day we went as a family to the entrance of Imizamo Yethu. We were going to meet with Nandipha at the parking of the Police Station. Which felt good, because I’m honest about this, you have no idea before entering what’s going on inside a Township.

She showed us first the community hall, where there was an option to buy local art, made/created by local people. Again a way of making a living! Like we all do!

Going up the hill, I was amazed how people are living there life in a Township, but also seeing the smiles on the faces. Seeing joy and open faces was good, but I was also aware of the big difference.

My brother Erik and Ydwer took photos and filmed the houses, but also the people. Nandipha showed us her house and we met also her mother and sister. After 2 hours we were back at the Police station.

We were happy that we made the choice to meet Nandipha and her family.

2014 -> 2016

Big jump into 2016, you thought the story was finished, but it only started! As most of you also know, I’m in the board of the paddle event the SUP11 City Tour. I’m responsible for the contact with the athletes. So I got in contact with Juliette from South Africa. At that time I didn’t know she was from Hout Bay near Cape Town. But also near Imizamo Yethu.

When the SUP11 was happening in September 2016 I met Julz really shortly. Gave a hand and that was it.

Another jump into December 2016, Julz recognized me in a restaurant in Cape Town. I had to dig deep, but yes, in the end I remembered her! We met up for a coffee, talked about the SUP11 and may be working together on the social media of the event. We didn’t make any appointments yet, but it came all together later on in september 2017. Julz did the social media during the event and we got to know each other better during our stay again in Cape Town.


Jumping more! Julz and I both went to a workshop ‘goal setting’ from Simon Ekin – Professional Speaker. Got to know Julz better, as she told some more about what she used to do with people living in a Township. Yes, you can guess, the Township was called Imizamo Yethu. She used to teach kids swimming and much more. It was also an emotional story and made me ask more about it, when we saw each other again after the workshop. Apparently Simon, the coach, was also intrigued by Julz her story and emailed her with the question; who would you offer from your ‘kids’ from the Township the ‘public speaking’ course? Yes, this was definitely Nandipha Breakfast she said.

Then all the info got together and we realized we all knew each other! We were all connected!

I emailed Nandipha with the story and we saw each other 4 years later for a coffee in Hout Bay! It was amazing to see her again, to see how she was grown as a person. She was super excited to go to the ‘Public Speaking’ course.

Finishing where I started with, yes we live in a big world, but it becomes smaller if you don’t stop to talk and to meet other people! I guess that the Six Degrees of Separation is true!

So if you are in Cape Town and you want to have a tour with Nandipha, contact her on her page: IHambo Tours!


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