Life in Cape Town as WiR

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Blog | No Comments

It was time to embark on my longest and most distant travel ever involving some two thousand kilometres. I had received the assignment to serve as a Wikipedian in Residence, at the centre of Africa, namely, The Arts Africa Centre.

It was not all roses before I left, but with high hopes, I believed there was awesomeness to follow. Close to 10 hours of flight time, I must say, it was not what I expected. I never enjoyed the flight, and it felt so unnatural to me. I could even detect the artificialness of the oxygen I breathed. It was my first time, so I had to deal with it, perhaps, I’ll be used to such conditions some day to come.

I had arrived just in time to enjoy the full glory of the MyCiti Bus system in Cape Town. The efficiency of these buses blew me away, and the comfort they offered, surpassed all expectations, at least, as someone who came from a country with a totally crippled in-city bus travelled system (in fact, there’s none).

My first month stay in Tamboerskloof was blissful. It happened to be the best place I stayed in Cape Town throughout my ten month. It was horror living in Maitland, in rooms ruled by cockroaches. I must say, my co-habitation with Africans never was the best. Don’t ask me why, and don’t tell me, “Am I not an African?”. I don’t know, but it was really unpleasant, especially with that Zimbabwean young man and the Congolese family.

As someone a bit obsessed with trains, finally getting the chance to travel on trains to work was exciting. Comparing these Metro rail trains to that of Heathrow express in London, the Cape Town trains felt like metal boxes with round-like metals beneath, as used by kids to play some years ago. Whilst I measured the Heathrow express trains to travel at maximum speed of 201 Kilometres per hour, Metro Rail gave its best shot at 51 Kilometres per hour.

It is not recommended (some consider it illegal) to keep the metro rails doors open when in travel, but it is fun. And as you know, it is fun that kills sometimes. From my little observation, I realized one particular train could carry over two thousand five hundred passengers per outgoing trip, which was amazing to me. I couldn’t help it, but make a short video of how humans manage to stack side-by-side so well.

Cape Town’s weather, since January was perfect for me. I was warned that winter is so bad. Really? I had never experienced winter before (Ghana has only two seasons: Wet and Dry season. What the heck is called Autumn, Spring, Winter and Fall?). The winter, after all, was not bad for me. I was way below my expectation. Johannesburg managed to shake me a bit with its zero degrees Celsius morning temperatures, but Cape Town wasn’t enough to impress me.

I came to understand what the security man told us at the Jewish Museum, that, ‘Its only in Cape Town that you get to experience the four seasons in one day.’ It shined, rained and became windy all within twenty four hours. Isn’t that amazing?

My work at the Africa Centre was so much productive. Tools to work was readily available. And my Monday mornings were never boring. Why would your Monday mornings be unexciting if you know you’re going to an office, infested with beautiful looking and lovely staff? Not many male interns did come to the Africa Centre during my stay there, but working with the few was pleasant.

Basically, I worked in union with the Wiki Africa Project, which has the goal of generating more African content for use on Wikipedia. I was part of the Open Africa Training Course at Africa Centre in February, the Wiki Indaba Conference at Jo’burg in June, and the Wikimania 2014 Conference in London in August. All were brilliant experiences.

I’m back now in the country called Ghana, and hope to finish my last two months as a Wikipedian in Residence. I hope the make the best of the time and reach out to as many as possible.

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