Rebekah Funk

“People aren’t kidding when they call South Africa the Rainbow Nation. My eight-week internship with VAC added more colour to my life than I’ve ever experienced. My Canadian roots found the fences and walls and barbed wire daunting at first, but I discovered a country of people more open than any I’ve ever met.

“While I’ve done other internships and freelance work since graduating from journalism school, my time at The Big Issue magazine was the highlight of my writing career thus far. Whether covering conflicts between surfers and trek netters at Surfers’ Corner in Muizenberg, interviewing the world leader of a white supremacist group, or investigating the ‘modern-day slavery’ of domestic workers who make about US$3 per day under labour brokering agencies, I was never bored. My editor and co-interns provided endless laughs, South African slang/accent translation and endless refills of instant Ricoffy.

“But what’s ultimately stolen my heart is Cape Town’s wicked sense of humour and willingness to hash out the growing pains of South Africa’s relatively young democracy. Well, that and the jaw-dropping beauty of the city. Believe me when I say it’s impossible to go to bed early — there are endless opportunities to hike, surf, watch rugga, picnic, suntan, dance and meet incredible people.

“Somewhere between visits to Emasithandane orphanage in Nyanga and cage diving with Great Whites in Gansbaai, I discovered the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I’d be lying if I said I’m 100 per cent happy to be home in Vancouver, but am content it’s only ’til my bank account’s healthy enough to buy a flight back. See you soon Cape Town!”

-Rebekah, pictured during an afternoon of volunteering in the townships as part of a VAC Friday excursion.