6 years in London

by oneafrikan on January 28, 2008

It’s been 6 years and 10 days since I arrived in London as a wet behind the ears South African 20 something looking for a red carpet, and I’ve been thinking about the different ways I could write this blog post as a battle worn 30yr old Londoner who dreams of Africa, but ‘cos of loads of work and a little snowboarding trip to France I’ve not yet been able to write anything yet. But I’m sure you’ll forgive me.

So here I am with 20 mins to kill and a few ideas…

To be honest it’s not really the significance or duration of it that makes me want to write, but rather the situation I find myself in that makes me reflective. I’ve always maintained that this blog is an exercise in catharcism and memory more than anything else.

6 years ago I couldn’t find a proper first job in London, had almost blown my savings on partying with my already financially established mates (the exchange rate post 9/11 meant I arrived with half of what I would have – it was about R20 to £1), was living on about £350 a month (it can be done, ask me how) in a double room with another (great) guy and constant snail invasions in a house with 5 rooms and no lounge and no electricity and no warmth, and at times felt like the road to finding something was more than I could handle. Shock, horror, I also had to sleep on the floor of a mates studio flat in winter in a pink sleeping bag made for South African summers. I’ve already said I was wet behind the ears. More than a few times I broke down and wanted to give up.

We did live wonderful privileged lives in South Africa, and I often wonder if we still could. I guess a part of me insanely wanted to arrive in London and suddenly leapfrog into the social and job sphere I inhabited in South Africa. No such luck ;-)

On the 18th of Jan (the day I arrived in London) precisely 6 years later, I found myself in a Kindo board meeting at 8am, with some of the best and most talented individuals I’ve had the pleasure to work with. There’s a Kindo press release coming soon about our investors, so I’m keeping schtum for now. If you had have asked me what I would be doing with my time 6 years ago, and described Kindo to me, I probably would have jumped at it with open arms, and still would.

Lucky for me me I’m now living in a great 2 bed flat in the heart of Wimbledon with my brother (who I’m immensely proud of) – constant electricity, real heating, no snails, nice huge TV, tinternet, telephone – the works baby!!

On top of that, thank my lucky stars, the next day I left for a week long holiday in France, where I got to race down steep snow covered slopes on a 5ft long snowboard. I felt like a kid again, and after turning down at least 6 or 7 similar trips with good mates, due to lack of cash or too much work going on, it did feel like I’d turned something, if not a corner.

It’s funny how life is, how the irony of things makes reflection and introspection lead you to the conclusion that sometimes sheer bloody mindedness and persistence is often more or less important than what or whom you know. I think what I’m trying to tell myself is that the last 6 years have been worth it every step of the way, for the lessons I’ve learned, people I’ve met, and experiences I’ve had. It seems almost too good to be true the situation I find myself in now is almost the complete opposite of where I was 6 years ago. Yet when I examine what work I’ve put in, some would say no wonder. The hard part is I often berate myself for not putting in more…

I wonder what the next 6 years has in store for moi? Much if I have anything to do with it ;-)


Its a nice retrospective look that; to turn back and say I will not change it for anything. To also be in a position where you can say I did good, but this is not all of me, there is more that I can put out, for that says there’s still a lot of life to be lived. Keep on keeping on.

Oh, ps: I’m the new resident ‘rock star’ in my family, thanks to Kindo.

by matome on January 29, 2008 at 8:28 am. Reply #

Great to hear that ;-) What’s your native language at home?

Thanks for the nice comments Matome – glad that what I was trying to say came accross in the right way…

by Gareth Knight on January 29, 2008 at 12:09 pm. Reply #

Gareth! It’s great to read this post, thanks for sharing it. I’ve always been impressed by your life and work ethics. I always say “no hard work is ever in vain” – which pretty much sums up what you have been through and achieved. Spending time on snow covered mountains definitely helps clear the head and make you realise how small but also how blessed we really are. Bring on the next 6 years…

by Ryan Shelton on January 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm. Reply #

Thanks Ryan ;-)

Yea, those mountains certainly do make you feel small… and coming back I’ve realised what advantages I’ve been given (always knew it, was just re-inforced) primarily by my parents and through school…

And yea, looking forward to the next 6 years!!

by Gareth Knight on January 29, 2008 at 1:38 pm. Reply #

nice post.

let’s make it happen ;)

by nils on February 1, 2008 at 3:05 pm. Reply #

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