When I enter a clothing shop, whether it is to buy clothing, to see what it is that they have in store or ask for directions, the last thing I would expect is to leave the shop, not having bought 1 thing, with a feeling of contentment. I had to be in Cape Town’s busy Long Street with my mother to experience this.
As we were moving ourselves fast through the streets of Cape Town, having a hard time to find an Ethiopian restaurant as recommended by a friend, we decided to ask the staff of the next shop we would pass. Entering, Lucky Fish, the shop filled with hip sunglasses, cool hats, African printed clothing, funky accessories and quotes written on blackboards, almost made us forget why we entered it at the first place. Rodriguez Baguma Iragi, the store owner also known as the “The Voice of Long street”/ “Blackboard Messenger” names given to him by those who know him as a poet welcomed us and before I knew it we had spoken about politics, the history of our lives, our dreams, passions, quotes, life and death. One of the things that really stuck out of our encounter is that Rodriguez explicitly emphasized that in life, you should not worry if what you do or would like to do has already been done by another. He gave the simple example of the many brands that sell water. He said; “there are so many brands that sell water and still they manage to survive, co-exist and get sold in each other’s presence.” I couldn’t agree more.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Don’t let that fear stop you because you think that it already has been done. A reminder that you do have your unique way of how you bring or share things into the world. We need each other to balance things out, if that means coming up with something completely new or a thing that already has been done, don’t worry, just hold on to your unique perspective on why the wheel is important.
Cape Town, one of my favorite go-to cities for work was visited only for 1 month, a shorter work trip then the previous ones. My mother had flown out from the Netherlands to stay over for a week and finally take in South Africa’s wondrous landscapes, charming people and inspiring changes after a complex often tragic history. In order for South Africa to move forward change was needed, inevitable. Thanks to Nelson Mandela the country went through an amazing transformation. Until this date almost 2 years after his death he still manages to inspire people all over the world to stand up and change the world for the better. It is people like Rodriguez who feel inspired, encouraged and are contributing to continue the build of a nation of unity from their own unique perspective.