Samantha Murray
Isle of Wight, UK

“On my first day in the Mother City, I asked someone why so many people come to Cape Town but never leave?

“’..Because Cape Town will steal your soul and then when it gives it back? You won’t want it.’”

“I remember laughing.


“Cape Town 1 – Sam 0

“As I sit on the plane and fly out of South Africa, I am deep in conversation with a man from Mossell Bay, exchanging stories about what we do and where we’ve come from but more importantly,  where we’re going..

“I am leaving a city I fell in love with– and although heartbroken, I feel ready – because 7 months in South Africa were 7 life-changing months.

“My first internship with Supernews, as a citizen journalist, was instrumental in improving my writing skills, as well as equipping me with a full set of video, photography and editing skills. I gained invaluable interview experience, including opening the first health centre in Khayelitsha with Premier of Western Cape and DA leader Helen Zille. I had the opportunity to attend the announcing press conference that Cape Town had won the 2014 World Design Capital bid and reported on Table Mountain being named one of the new 7 Wonders of The World. I am leaving with an experienced and diverse portfolio and a lot more knowledge of the field I may want to have a career in.

“I began my second internship with the Social Justice Coalition in Khayelitsha 3 months later; a polar opposite experience.  I was working in the centre of the largest township in South Africa. My role was Campaigns Manager and I was focusing and working on their Sanitation and Safety campaign. My main project was to produce an awareness booklet highlighting the relationship between Sanitation and Safety. The booklet also contains over 20 testimonies that the SJC have collected, detailing the life threatening and sometimes fatal experiences the community members are forced to endure every time they need to relieve themselves. Once published, the booklet will be distributed all over South Africa and hopefully raise enough awareness to create change and pressurise the Government to provide Khayelitsha with the services it so desperately needs. I also had the chance to meet with the ‘Stop torture in Health Care’ representatives from New York and help run a meeting with the Khayelitsha police force, focusing on challenging corruption and improving the service for its community members.

“Moving to Cape Town was my first experience living abroad and VACorps could not have made it feel any less like that. Their ability to familiarize, educate and excite me about Cape Town was key to me settling in so quickly and happily. Their continued and growing support throughout my 7 months in Cape Town saw me looking at them as good friends, rather than programme staff. Volunteer Adventure Corps is not just an internship programme identity and a family in one of the most beautiful cities in the World.

“Particular highlights for me include road tripping from Cape Town through Johannesburg, Swaziland and Mozambique in December, working for VACorps, the Hermanus weekend, The Garden Route trip, jumping the highest Bungee in the World, Skydiving, Scuba Diving, Namibia, Afrika Burn and living in ‘Lowermain’. Living with people from 7 different Countries, we had our very own United Nations and the people in that house, all 3 generations of VAC interns from October to May, are all hugely to thank for making my time here so special.

“I experienced Christmas, New Year’s eve and My 21st in Cape Town. They were the best Christmas, New Year’s Eve and birthday yet.

“My advice to new or prospective VAC interns: Cape Town is not a city like New York or London; it is unique with its own attitude and way of doing things – you have to get used to that, not the other way around. Cape Town should come with a warning – If you aren’t prepared to hike Table Mountain in the morning, paraglide off it that afternoon and go to a Kirstenbosch concert that evening – whilst juggling an internship – Don’t come.

“Came as an intern, leaving a Veteran… Good luck to those I have said goodbye to and Thank you to all VAC LEGENDS and Vanessa, Sean, Oliver, Andrew, Sly, Ivy, Takiyah (and that slightly awkward driver who doesn’t quite know how to deal with the en-route airport breakdowns) for helping me truly Live the dream for the last 7 months!

“Remember, Cape Town, own rules apply.”