This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Teamwork- lessons from the bush

This weekend I was privileged to be able to spend some time in the bush with my family. While we were there, we saw the extremely rare sighting of a leopard – and a leopard in action to boot. Our game ranger drove like a bat out of hell to get there in time once he’d heard about it on his radio. Two vehicles were already there, and it was just as well we’d raced as we only saw about five seconds of the big cat. The leopard was running across the plain towards a group of impala, and as it came for them, two males headed up the team and ran towards it. The leopard retreated back into the trees. The impala, obviously very distressed, continued to sound alarm calls and the air filled with their tension. They had escaped being a meal for a few seconds.

It was fascinating to watch the bucks’ behaviour and the way they functioned within their team. Two obvious leaders stepped forward and took charge, while the rest of the group made sure that the babies were protected. All the buck were alert and watching out for themselves and each other. Without the support of those behind them, the males would not have been able to challenge the leopard.

The impala taught me some important lessons about the value of teamwork:
In teams, the individuals look out for each other and warn one another of danger
The team ensures that they protect the weakest of their group
In a group, you are capable of doing much more than if you were just on your own
Many eyes see more than one pair is able to
There is safety in numbers
Times of crisis brings out the best in the group and the individual- the strength of a leader is proved when they are under stress

It turned out to be a lucky morning as, twenty minutes later; we came across two lions basking in the sun on a plane, eagerly watching some zebra and wildebeest some distance from them. The zebra were too far away, though, to make an easy meal, and the lions gave up on their half -hearted attempt at stalking them and decided to attend to their morning grooming. Our vehicle was about twenty metres from them, which was all right as they had their backs to us and seemed in no mood to take up a quick chase. That is until my cousin dropped his cap onto the grass and quickly lent over to retrieve it. The disturbed lion walked straight toward our (open) vehicle and we all held our breaths as he loped past.
Second and most important lesson for the morning: Respect nature!

These are two of the many sightings we had during the weekend. It was wonderful to spend some time away from the busy city and draw some inspiration from animals and nature.


Valentin said...

Dear Susan, it seems that you have really had nice experience "in the bush". It is always nice to go away from the city and the every-day problems for a while and enjoy the nature.
It is also impressive that you have observed and evaluated the importance of team-work in the wild life.
I hope that you would feel well coming back to the city. See you on Friday!

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Hi Suse,
I laughed when I read the part about your cousin dropping his hat, it reminded me of our class trip to Mapungubwe National Park, when an a baby elephant ran towards our vehicle. It looked huge!! You should have heard the blood curdling screams!! I'm not sure my stomach could take the sight of a lion or leaopard feeding on it's prey.