It’s NOT “Slaapstad”*

I did an interview the other day with Dirk Elzinga, who retires later this year after heading up the Cape Town International Convention Centre since its design stage almost ten years ago. There’s little doubt that he’s left an indelible mark on the city and all Capetonians owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

RAI Amsterdam won contract for the management of the CTICC and Dirk was seconded to head things up, building local capacity and implementing skills transfer. I asked him what the biggest surprise was when he started working in Cape Town. “We expected Cape Town to be a typical Mediterranean city, where things get done ‘tomorrow’. It’s not like that at all! If someone says they’ll do something, they do it. If it’s promised for Tuesday, it’s done by Tuesday.”

(Something else quite mind-blowing was his statistic that Cape Town holds a 25% market share for all conferences hosted on the entire African continent!)

And that reminded me of something Chris Moerdyk, veteran marketing man, said some while back. He went into semi-retirement and moved to Cape Town from Johannesburg.

He said that it takes half a day to do things in Cape Town that would take a day in Johannesburg.

So it’s not surprising that events like the Design Indaba. Jazz Festival, Cycle Tour, etc, are the enormous successes that they are. Less talk, more action!

The interview with Dirk will be published soon.

* Cape Town in Afrikaans is “Kaapstad”. Some people, usually from up-country, like the derogatory “Slaapstad” which means sleepy town.

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