Diversity in Action
On October 9, 2021 the Royal Cape Yacht Club hosted one of its most memorable Opening Cruises to date. I must say the RCYC team do know how to put on a show—that gold face mask on President John Levin’s mast was very symbolic indeed. A floating art exhibition displayed the inherent diversity seen on the many faces and the sculptures involved. If it is true that art imitates life, and vice versa, then Saturday was proof of that.
Everyone put on quite a show. It’s always encouraging to see how much effort members put into these events. From team Stardust and crew, to Equinox and many more, it was an exciting visual display. The TNPA Port Planning Manager attended, as did the PA to the Port Manager and the Corporate Affairs Manager, and all three of them phoned me the following day with nothing but praise for our Club and its members. They had a wonderful time on and off the water. As I was giving my impromptu speech on the day, I took a quick glance at the crowd and what I saw was a vision of what we could ultimately be— young children, adolescents, middle aged men and women, and elderly attendees. It was a diversity of races and ages and walks of life. I saw marina staff standing next to GENCOM members. I saw government officials chatting with ordinary citizens, not about politics or the state of the country, but about life and family.
When our Commodore Neil Gregory speaks about our diversity and inclusivity drive, what does it mean? What is this diversity and inclusion all about? This opening cruise told the whole story. Diversity and inclusion are about celebrating our unique identities. On Saturday, we celebrated Italian culture and its iconic city of Venice. Perhaps next year we will celebrate Egyptian culture and the great Pyramids. Perhaps the year after that we celebrate the Afrikaans culture and the Xhosa and Swahili and so forth. We have so much diversity in this beautiful country of ours, yet we know so little about each other.
On Saturday I saw first-hand what it looks like when you create a space for people to meet and get to know each other. I write a lot about the things we still need to do and improve in our Club. Today I want to simply say: we are exceptional at what we already do. We sure do know how to throw a good party and we sure do know how to make people feel welcome. The collaboration between various departments is seamless and second to none. Our GM is really a “G”, in our slang, meaning she is a General indeed. The food was incredible—three cheers to the chef and his team. One never truly appreciates how well things have to be run, for you to come to a function with so many people present, with so much going on and walk out hassle free. Stellar stuff.
At our best we look like we did on Saturday. At our worst, we don’t see why Saturday matters. I will remain an eternal optimist and do everything I can to get the people of this country to know each other across colour, race, religion, physical ability, sex, gender, youth, class, station or rank. My reasons are simple and they will never change. Diversity is power. Here I am, a young black man, writing blogs and newsletter articles to a predominantly white audience—who knew this would also be part of my story! Who knew any of you would be interested in what a black man has to say! Yet here we are, joined at the hip, trying our utmost to get to know one another and even if we don’t like each other, we at least gain respect for one another. Enough respect affords us the opportunity to coexist. May our Club grow stronger with each passing year, and may we continue to welcome that which makes us different and see it, not as a threat, but rather as a strength.