Monday Musings 14 March: Embracing your inner Shackleton

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The rather inauspicious prospect of ‘going south’ didn’t deter renowned polar explorer Ernest Shackleton from visiting “the region of ice and snow” at the end of the earth.

Had he known the extent to which his ambitious expedition to Antarctica would head in that direction, he might have traded in his fur boots for a pair of comfortable slippers.

Disaster struck in November 1915 when his ship, The Endurance, sank below the icy polar waters in the Weddell Sea after being trapped in the ice for months. “She’s gone boys,” said Shackleton, who was so upset about the incident he couldn’t even write about it in his diary.

That was the beginning of one of the greatest survival stories ever told. Shackleton and his men would spend a total of 497 days trying to get back to land. They would cross more than 800 miles of punishing polar waters in a tiny boat and the island of South Georgia on foot to find help. The Irishman, whose family motto was ‘By endurance, we conquer’, wrote about this unbelievable journey in his book, aptly entitled ‘South’.

More than a century on, South Africans can be proud that we played a significant role in the second part of this epic tale as the SA Agulhas II sailed to the icy extremes of Antarctica on its own voyage, to search for the wreck of The Endurance, “the little ship that had dared the challenge of the Antarctic”.

There had been several prior attempts to locate her, all of which had failed – likely the result of Antarctica’s willful way of challenging the plans of every human lucky enough to set foot on her icy landscape. Sounds a little like life in general, hey?

But patience and persistence paid off. Battling constantly shifting sea-ice, blizzards, and temperatures dropping down to -18C, this week scientists found and filmed the lost vessel of Shackleton in her final resting place at the bottom of the Weddell Sea – buried beneath 3 km of water.

She had endured the icy conditions spectacularly, to the extent that marine archaeologist Mensun Bound described her as the “finest wooden shipwreck” he had ever seen. The footage clearly reveals the ship’s name – E N D U R A N C E – arced across the stern, including its anchors, some boots and even crockery. In fact, she looks just like she did that November day she went down over a century ago.

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Shackleton could never know the extent to which the ship’s name would ring true long after he had passed. The Endurance withstood her harsh conditions for over a century without giving way. If that doesn’t inspire you to roll up your sleeves and brush away the cobwebs of the past two years to stride forth with purpose, I don’t know what will.

As we mark two years to the day the State of Disaster was first announced in South Africa on Tuesday, this almost impossible discovery reminds us that we too can be resolute in channelling our inner ‘Endurance’ just that little bit longer so that we can create the momentum we need to sail through calmer waters.

Let’s hope we come out looking as good as she does…


Mindful Musings

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Marketing Musings: Don’t let your LinkedIn profile languish

Anybody in business not using LinkedIn to expand their community and network is missing a trick. So, of course, when I happened upon this fantastic infographic shared by Richard van der Blom to help you wax the social platform, I knew I had to share it.

Here are some top tips to get you started:

👉 Include a trigger in the first 3 lines

👉 Create longer text posts

👉 Tag people to spark conversations

I have been posting intentionally on LinkedIn since the beginning of January and my engagement has soared. Follow these handy tips and you’ll see yours soar too.

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And for those of you who like to spend hours mind-numbingly scrolling through your feed, what’s the bet that this new Breakout Clips functionality will get your attention. I always need a little ‘Groot’ in my life, don’t you? And just think about the application for travel and tourism!

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What the world was musing over this past week

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Working remotely? Do it at the top of Table Mountain!

Digital nomads can use the Wi-Fi lounge at the top of Table Mountain using the TMACC Cable Card and enjoy ample working space, refreshments and food, stable Internet and stunning views.


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Rome’s new museum dedicated to cooking

Renaissance-era ice cream moulds, 500-year-old cookbooks, recipes meant only for popes: Rome’s newest museum is a fascinating homage to Italy’s history of food and cooking.


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All The Feels: Ndlovu Youth Choir Release New Song

The Ndlovu Youth Choir has released a cover of “Man in the Mirror”, and it’s bringing all the feels!


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Breaking the bias with wine

Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first Black female winemaker, opens up about building her company, Aslina Wines, and breaking industry stereotypes.