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My South African Story

Thursday, 10 November 2016
Charles Mmasi
My South African Story

"Charles Mmasi - Tanzania trainee who rotated to SA for 6 months"

It is amazing when I look back in hindsight, the day when I jumped on the plane going to South Africa. It only feels like yesterday that I drove from O.R Tambo International Airport to Sandton. One of the most memorable drives I have had in my life, especially because it was my first time in South Africa.

I was keen to take on the secondment because I wanted to be exposed to new experiences and people both in and outside work and develop more skills and ideas to help me take up new and more challenges in the future.

Coming from a small office of 6 qualified lawyers, I was excited about the prospect of working in a bigger team and putting faces to the names I exchanged work emails with during my earlier rotations in Tanzania.

I went to South Africa with a very open mind, eager to share my skills, learn and see as much as possible. I must say that it has been a thoroughly valuable and enjoyable experience.

I was made to feel very welcome at the Johannesburg office from day one and the team was very supportive all along. I would like to make a special mention to Steven Gamble, Gregg Nott, Lize Louw, Muzi Kubeka, Keith Mukami, Katia Mengel, Brian Shonubi, Zaida Kathrada and Daniel Leslie for their immense support. It is with their help that I have been exposed to a great deal of knowledge on English and South African laws and improved my skills in banking and finance. Manitha Singh, my cubicle neighbour, also made my office experience pleasant as she was always ready to help, despite me nagging her with questions and annoying requests every time.

I have had so much fun, made friends and built lifetime relationships in South Africa. I also shared some of the best and memorable times with the Candidate Attorneys. Especially Chandre, Lisa, Busi, Aji, Lee, Chloe, Brian, Andrew, Lineo and Georga – these guys made me enjoy the kindness of the South African people.

My Farewell lunch with the team

My Farewell dinner with the Candidate Attorneys

The summer experience in Johannesburg is the best, especially because am used to the usual 30 degrees in Dar es Salaam. Winter season was my worst but I got used to it very quickly – as Chloe, Sue and Manitha would joke – “Charles, you at least now own a scarf!”

My socialising in Johannesburg mostly revolved around outdoors and travels. When not doing any travelling, I would use the weekends to explore the vibrant streets of Johannesburg, visit the farmers market, movies in Sandton City or some brunching in the Maboneng precinct. Being the nature loving person that I am, I also managed to visit Pilanesberg, the Lion Park and the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden and saw so much South African beauty.

One of my best experiences was the ‘July Fever’ which comes with the Durban July horse race. The experience was incredible! My Durban team of Aji, Reuben, Jade and Evander made sure that I enjoyed a weekend long festival of horse race, fashion and entertainment. And who goes on secondment and then meets the president? Oh wait…I did at the Durban July!

I have had some awesome dishes in South Africa. The shisa nyama and braai experiences took my love for meat to another level. With the fantastic restaurants in Sandton, I made sure I had a good beef steak almost every time I was out for dinner. I also enjoyed pap, the Tanzania equivalent Ugali, once in a while. I wish I had explored more of the wine varieties in South Africa though, but I blame it on my obsession with the Jack’s old No. 7.

To be immersed in the multicultural diversity and lifestyle of South Africa is a true eye opening experience and something that I never took for granted. I have learnt and met lots of friendly people during my time there, some who will insist on me speaking Zulu even when I explained that I could not.

My Durban Team

Living and working in South Africa has been a truly fantastic experience to me, and one that I will look back at with the best admiration.

It was a special six months and it quickly came to an end.

Ngiyabonga nisale kahle sobuye s’bonane

Some pictures of the places I visited:

My visit to Pilanesberg National Park

Spent my first weekend in South Africa at the Lion Park

A refreshing experience at Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden

The Mandela house and museum in Soweto was a must see

Took some time off to Sun City with friends

A visit of the Cradle of Human Kind and the caves was a thrilling history lesson


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