The Lobbyist, by Lindani Mchunu.

Google defines lobbyist as such: a person who takes part in an organized attempt to influence legislation.

As you can see from the definition, the possibility of being unsuccessful is real. They use words like ‘attempt’ and ‘influence’. Nothing about the definition says you are guaranteed success. Aha! Not so fast, the definition also does not explicitly say you will fail or you should not try at all. So here lies the ruins of my attempts.

This Academy is a true testament of trying. Last week Saturday I had the pleasure of having lunch with Phil Wade and Abro. Whilst in conversation with Abro, he said something and then took a pause and said to me, “Lindani you are a lobbyist”. I said “really David, I have never looked at myself that way”. Yet the more I think about it, the more I realise, it is partly true. I spend most of the time talking to would be funders of our little Academy. The other half I spend talking to people asking them to tell our story. Whether it be through word of mouth or a whole Disney documentary.

Someday I will write my story and you will finally know why I am so indebted to the Ocean. In short it found me. It saved me like people in church speak about being saved. For me it was the deep blue sea. I remember my first crossing so well. I remember thinking to myself. I nearly missed it. I nearly missed finding out where I belong. I was also sad at the same time. I realized that the path laid out before me, would be the one where I only meet new people. The old me was now a thing of the past. None of my family, friends, acquaintances, would know this Lindani that was about to take shape, out at sea.

This new version would always be a mystery to those that are closest to me. The new people I would get to know, would never have context of who Lindani truly is. No man’s Land. That is where the Ocean took me and that is where I have been ever since. I think it was Pablo Picasso who said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away”. I never found mine really, rather it found me and gave me away.

As you all know we have received rather sublime news, in such difficult times. To be funded for a total of two years, training 30 learners is surreal. To think that we are coming from a time where we had to mothball boats, cut students and instructors. 2020 was tough. 2021 was even tougher. Am I a lobbyist? Well, I don’t know. I certainly don’t attempt to influence legislation. Yet I do influence. Do I have an agenda? Yes a very big one. The youth of this country. The marginalized and forgotten youth in the Cape flats and all over the townships of this country.

In the depths of my core, like little children believe in Santa and tooth fairies, I believe there is magic in the sea. I believe that to interact with that element is to transform yourself unknowingly. The longer you remain out at sea the more irreversible your transformation will be. In essence that is all I am trying to achieve. To take young people to a place, which will change them forever, for better or worse.

We are climbing Everest. The summit is the state of the Art Sailing Centre. Rio seems to be a hot potato at the Club. Great adventures always create anxiety, so many unknowns. Time fast approaching. Just when you take your breath and take in the glory of stabilizing the ship, another wave awaits you. This, I believe, will be my last newsletter for the year. Next year in January we are shooting a documentary for Disney, I don’t know where that footage will land us.

This Christmas, I will be with my family. We will talk about old times and postulate about the future. The virus is relentless and the government has been in the doldrums for as long as we can remember. Does one even have it in them to be optimistic about anything anymore? Well. Here is a few words from me to you.

A country so violent that it kills its women and children, can only mean one thing in my mind. We need to take a closer look at ourselves. All of us, not just the perpetrators, but all of us. The purpose we all seek, is staring at us in the face.

I have had the privilege of seeing the world a bit. I know that there is no place like South Africa and there certainly is no City like Cape Town. We all love this place, otherwise we wouldn’t care whether it burns or not. We wouldn’t care whether our government was corrupt or not. We all would have moved to Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia and maybe even Zimbabwe if push came to a shove. We are not interested, we all know, no African country can offer us what we have here.

We pay for our cardinal sin every day. That dreaded topic of colour, of race, of BEE or transformation. He is black, I am white. And there we have it, the battle lines have been drawn. The crux of the matter is pigmentation of course. Serious stuff I’m told. The politicians have been using this ruse from the beginning of time. They and Us.

So, is there really something to be hopeful for? Yes and no. The question we should be asking is, which one do we want it to be. A yes or a no. I don’t know any other planet. I don’t know any other species of human. I just know us. We the human beings of this planet of the year 2022. There is no jumping ship. The Academy exists because it is a reminder that we have work to do. All of us have work to do. I guess, I am a lobbyist after all.

Have a splendid Christmas and a happy New Year. See you on the big screen.

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