All posts filed under: People

The Art of Getting to Know Someone

First published here, on the Royal Chundu blog. As I sit with my laptop before me, both connecting me with the world and getting between the two of us, I am more and more aware that while modern life may let us know more people, it does not necessarily let us know them. We get to follow the lives of friends, family, acquaintances, people we’ve never met, and learn about them through screens – but we rarely commit as much time and spirit to doing so face to face. Through that unscripted, unfiltered, unpolished yet beautiful interaction of two people sitting across from each other, getting to know each other. We find ourselves in other people, and through them. We also, simply, find them, other unique souls to connect with, grow with, feel with – truly, messily, embarrassingly, feel. The heart shows up. In a way that it can’t through a screen, through the facades of technology. When you travel, you get to meet new people, and sometimes you get to stay around long enough to get …

In the Garden of Togetherness

First published on the Royal Chundu blog. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. And the village of Mushekwa, alongside Royal Chundu on the banks of the Zambezi, has many children. Even the children help in raising children. Young boys that reach only to my hips walk with a child propped upon their own sides. Everyone here is a mother and a father, a sister and a brother, a teacher and a nurse, a friend. When we enter into their space, when we visit the village, the people, Edith Mushekwa and her greater family, beside their homes, we are at once at home ourselves. It’s the village way. The spirit of community. It gets you and it changes you. Each visit to the village takes us away from everything. Literally, yes, it being a short boat ride away from the lodge. But also away from what most of us are used to… back home, in the city. Edith and her extended family, and their extended family, are constantly working. But working together. …

The Je ne sais quoi of Johannesburg

The question has often been asked. Do people make places? Forbes once addressed it in their blog, noting, “Some cities have been smoking hot for a while now; others are just recently catching fire. They share a lot of DNA, generally having universities, an investment-friendly culture and political will to support innovation. But perhaps most important is the humapn factor.” In my experience, it’s quite simple. Yes. Yes, they do. People make places. Even for non-people-people, there are many special places in the world that manage to bring out your gregarious, telephone-number-swapping side. Places where the hidden social butterfly patters its wings a little harder, a little less incognito, in answer to the like-minds whose paths you cross. It is this phenomenon that draws me to AtholPlace Hotel & Villa in Johannesburg. People say that, as a city, Johannesburg is notably friendly. In a going-out-of-their-way-to-help-you kind of way that always ends with the words, “We’re having a braai on Friday. Why don’t you join us?” This is unusual in big cities, but it’s a theory that rings true for AtholPlace as …