Extracurricular Activities

There’s much to do around the Jo’burg area, and I’ve been lucky to attend and network at many events—the presentation of Amnesty International's 2013 Annual Report, a concert by Alhousseini Anivolla (the lead singer from one of the most famous Nigérien groups, Etran Finatawa), a meeting of the Phato Investments Group directors, and a trip to Kruger National park.

My college buddy and current host, Nnditsheni Madavha, is the co-founder of the Phato (pronounced "Pah-toh") Investments Group, now a year-old company that is sure to grow because of the caliber of its members and its sound and innovative structure. They are a cooperative of close-knit young professionals (mostly engineers, IT professionals, and accountants), who pay monthly membership dues that turn into individual shares in the cooperative. They have an elaborate process for using the collective capital and talent to either invest in existing businesses or create new ones. One of their goals is to generate jobs in rural regions of South Africa, and thereby reduce the flight to the cities that has afflicted many families.

The meeting I attended was on a Saturday afternoon at a Dros Restaurant, where members each reported on the status of their particular project or task, and they finalized plans for Phato’s upcoming Annual Report gala. Madavha is the one with the hat, to my left.

Phato Investments Group meeting

This past weekend, I went to Kruger National Park with three old friends and three new ones. We saw  two lions, herds of elephants, two African wild cats, herds of zebras, five giraffes, many kudus, one warthog, six hippos, two rhinos, several baboons, herds of buffaloes and impalas, a hyena, several different types of birds, and a few others I probably forgot.  

Vahid at Kruger National Park

We took both a night drive from 8 to 11PM, and another one early in the morning from 5 to 8AM. It was so cold outside, especially when the Safari truck was in motion and the wind made its presence known, that I had to use a sweater, a leather jacket, and a blanket to stay warm. Here I am above, rep'ing my William & Mary Law School oh-so-stylish hat.