Thanks for Being Our First: Knowmads Cape Town Through Sorrel’s Eyes
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Thanks for Being Our First: Knowmads Cape Town Through Sorrel’s Eyes

What happened, Knowmads Cape Town. By Sorrel Carmichael.

Project closed. It ended, we gave up; abort mission. It felt a bit like that at least, 15 months of hard work, sleepless nights; learning and putting ourselves on the line only to leave it all behind. The story of 90% of startups I’m sure. There is some comfort in that at least. Yes we were naive but many things were not on our side, legalities and financial constraints. The challenge of setting up a venture in a country you are not welcome in let alone native to.

But it was incredible. We met hundreds of people dedicated to bettering themselves and the world. Generous souls offering their time and expertise to strangers. Inspiration and enthusiasm around every corner goading us on. People are amazing.

Learning how to sell… Sell sell sell; market, promote, push. The never-ending possibility to reach further to tell your story better to more people, more and more people. And the lessons. Big and small, come every day, every hour. The running commentary in your head of how you could have done it better, how it will be different tomorrow when we try harder, work longer. When it’s all going according to plan, you get that reward, the long-awaited burst of joy that hits you like an orgasm when you least expect it. That important person replied to my email, we got good feedback… I know, it doesn’t take much! The highs so high you have long forgotten the lows.

We took advice, so much conflicting advice – Was it helpful? Some of it, for a while, until it wasn’t anymore. Would we do it differently now? Definitely. Thank goodness we learn. But it wouldn’t be easier. It wouldn’t feel better. I imagine you love your first venture more than any that follow. It’s your first love, your first baby, the one you put most of yourself into believing with every bone in your body that it will work, people will want it, it will fly.


Energy put in translates to energy put out, right? Well no… It doesn’t equate. One day you get that rejection so great it breaks you; you can’t come back from it. The tunnel you must go through to see the light is too long. You calculate your energy, your passion, your drive. Was that it? Has it diminished, depleted? Is that all we’ve got? Well maybe. The grass was no longer green. We started dreaming of that sweet stability that arrives in the account at the end of the month. The work that ends.. At 17:00 at least. The responsibility that stretches only as far as the job description. Your title = your worth. Nothing to prove.

It’s comfortable, but will it last? Probably not. The flame never dies completely. In the net of safety it begins to glow again. Getting warmer and bigger, faster than you had expected. You feel this time you will be cleverer, wiser, older, better equipped to cope with the harsh realities. It’s a never ending pursuit of self actualization. The flame will haunt us until we try again.

Thank you Knowmads Cape Town for being our first.

A special thank you to everyone who helped us bring Knowmads Cape Town to life!

To mention some names…

Guus Wink

Cecile Honigman

Lisa Parkes

Sarah Dekker

Tri Nexus

Bettina Van Guirk

Everyone at CCDI

Nathan Heller

Gideon Heller

Everyone at Spin Street House

Diana Ocholla

Emil Winther 

Taryn Young

Sverre Gran

Aaron Butcher

William Hewett

The Kaospilots

Fergus Turner

The Hive

Iziko Museum

Amy Sephton


Astrid Veronika

Paulina Wright

Greg Bakker

Nick Talbot

Designer of Change  

The Tangled Bank / 75 Harrington Street

Steven Harris

People Rise

Knowmads Amsterdam

Claire Mc Guiness

Gary Giraudeau

Renske Hoff
Ubuntu street acadamy

Barry Geer

Nikki Jackman

Stephan Fouri 


Lillian Schultze

Myrna Lemmen

(You can also find this blog on Knowmads Cape Town’s website here.)

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