On the first Thursday of every month in Cape Town, some kind of spell comes over the residents and they’re drawn to the city centre in search of the antidote. After sipping it slowly or gulping it down, they make their way back home and go on with the week like nothing happened.
Except for a few minor changes to their contact list and depending on the galleries they visited, a smaller bank account.
Having never quite experienced First Thursdays, my first night out (April’s, which was, coincidentally, my first day at work) was a little bit of a mess. I came trundling out of the office with my backpack and no idea what to expect. I followed my team and got left behind a few times but a someone always came back for me.
It was a night of learning and by the next First Thursday (yesterday), I was ready to take on the experience by myself.
I began at the public library (where else would one begin?) where I sipped a wine and contemplated it’s flavours while listening to the founder of Yoco talk about his ventures. Not planning to stay out too late (with age comes wisdom, apparently), my next and last stop was the Ministry of Economic Opportunities where I had the pleasure of meeting an artist by the name of Mel Elliott. Mel introduced me to a wine made by a family member and gave a short demonstration on the use of acrylic paint and how colour changes as the perspective recedes.
As the night progressed, I met more and more people and it finally occurred to me that First Thursdays was about networking.
After a month of sticking to cliques and set routes, Capetonians are driven by a natural impulse to expand their networks and create new social bonds. People are open to new experiences and new friendships.
As I made my way home, feeling proud of myself for taking that leap of faith, I wondered how I could share this experience with people across the world. The answer seems simple now. Just buy a bottle of South African wine.
Unsung Hero Shiraz 2014 – http://wp.me/p3cmGw-13W