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In November 2013 Behold South Africa (Behold SA) in partnership with Hillbrow Entrepreneurship Initiative (HEI), hosted a delegation from Air France/KLM on their two day visit to the city of Johannesburg. Our guests found convenient accommodation at the Parktonian in Braamfontein, very near to the locations of both Behold SA and HEI.

Our guests arrived on a warm Tuesday on the 12tof November around midday and after some freshening up and lunch at the hotel, they were ready to start taking in the city. Following a brief team meeting and a quick rundown of the programme, their visit began at HEI café where they were put through some team exercises with a hint of fun and games. This was accompanied by light food served at HEI café and introductions to the Behold SA and HEI team. After a light dose of caffeine, our guests took a casual stroll back to the hotel to gear themselves up for a full day of activity and a long flight back home in the evening.

Early on the morning of the 13th our guests were up and rearing to go on a walk about tour to capture the smell, taste and sound of the city. It was not long before they spotted Nelson Mandela Bridge and raced off to be the first to set foot and walk across this iconic landmark of central Johannesburg. With intermittent pauses to answer some of the questions and view some of the other sites, the team made their way to the Central Methodist Church in the heart of the Johannesburg CBD, where they met some of the HEI entrepreneurs who had been patiently waiting to put them to task. The teams were then split into two and given materials to make tables under the guidance of skilled carpenter……………….

Having produced two sturdy tables for sale to raise funds for HEI, at considerable speed, our guests had worked up quite an appetite and after taking some time to visit the local crèche and short conversations with some more entrepreneurs, the team made their way to the Johannesburg fashion district for lunch. The team had a very relaxed lunch feasting on Joburgers and enjoying the calm atmosphere in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the Church. With a number of hours between lunch and their departure, the team opted to walk of the meal on a tour of inner city Johannesburg.

The team took a calm walk viewing such sites as Carlton Centre, Mahatma Gandhi Square, Bree taxi rank (from a distance) and the famous John Vorster Square (Johannesburg Central Police Station) where a number of Apartheid prisoners passed through before going to trial, with many never making it out. Our guests also viewed such sites as the statues of Albertina and Walter Sisulu, the South African Breweries and New Town’s Market Theatre (The centre of arts and culture in Johannesburg) before walking back over Nelson Mandela Bridge and heading back to HEI Café for a debriefing.

After a brief sitting with the team some cheerful goodbyes were said and gratitude poured out from both sides as reminiscing took an early start. Our guests that made their way back to the hotel for one final rest before racing off to the airport to catch the long flight home.

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