The Opening Cruise, by Lindani Mchunu.

You will probably have heard by now, that on Saturday the 9th of October the Royal Cape Yacht Club had one of the most memorable opening cruise events to date. I must say the RCYC team do know how to put on a show, that Gold faced Mask on our Presidents John Levin’s mast was very symbolic indeed. There was a floating art exhibition of many faces and sculptures. It didn’t slip my mind that the many faces spoke of the inherent diversity of art. If it is true that art imitates life and vice versa then Saturday was the proof in the pudding.

Everyone put on quite a show. It’s always encouraging to see how much effort members put in for these events. From team Stardust and crew, to Equinox and many more. It was really exciting to see. The TNPA Port Planning Manager was also here, so was the PA to the Port Manager and the Corporate Affairs Manager. All three of them phoned me the following day, with nothing but praise for our Club and its members. They had a wonderful time on and off the water. As I was giving my impromptu speech on the day, I took a quick glance at the crowd and what I saw was a vision of what we could ultimately be. I saw young children, I saw youth, I saw middle aged men and women, I saw brown people, I saw elderly people, and I saw marina staff standing next to GENCOM members. I saw government officials chatting with ordinary white people, not about politics or the state of the country, but about life and family.

I think you all heard the Commodore speak about our diversity and inclusivity drive. So what does it mean? What is this diversity and inclusion all about? This opening cruise told the whole story. Diversity and inclusion is about celebrating our unique identities. On Saturday we celebrated the Italian culture and its iconic city of Venice. Perhaps next year we will celebrate the Egyptian culture and the great Pyramids. Perhaps the next we celebrate the Afrikaans culture and the Xhosa and Swahili and so forth. We have so much diversity in this beautiful country of ours, yet we know so little about each other.

On Saturday I saw first-hand what it looks like when you create a space for people to meet and get to know each other. I write a lot about the things we still need to do in this club, stuff that we can improve on and get better at. Today I want to simply say, we are exceptional at what we already do. We sure do know how to throw a good party and we sure do know how to make people feel welcome. The collaboration between various departments is seamless and second to none. Our GM is really a “G” when we use slang. Meaning, she is a General indeed.

The food was incredible, three cheers to the chef and his team. One never truly appreciates how well things have to be run, for you to come to a function with so many people present, with so much going on and walk out hassle free. Stellar stuff. At our best we look like we did on Saturday. At our worst, we don’t see why Saturday matters. I will remain an eternal optimist and do everything I can to get the people of this country to know each other, across colour, race, religion, physical ability, sex, gender, youth, class, station or rank. My reasons are simple and they will never change. Diversity is Power. Here I am, a young black man, writing blogs and newsletter articles to a predominantly, white audience, who knew this would also be part of my story, who knew any of you would be interested in what a black man had to say. Yet here we are, joined at hip, trying our utmost to get to know one another and even if we don’t like each other, we at least gain respect for one another. Enough respect to afford us the opportunity to coexist. May our Club grow stronger with each passing year, and may we continue to welcome that which makes us different and see it not as a threat but rather as a strength.

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