Traci Hurling interviewed Audery February, as part of BRAVE Rock Girl’s women’s month focus on inspirational women, both are BRAVE Senior Leaders. Audery February joined BRAVE 8 years ago at the age of 14. She is a registered tour guide for Escape+Explore, a Cape Town tourism company and the 2020 winner of the Rise Africa award (for Up-and-Coming Rising Star) at the We Are Africa gathering. Audery uses her platforms in BRAVE and in tourism to share her story and inspire the people around her, especially the youth. Growing up in Manenberg, Audery always knew that she was destined for something bigger and currently works hard every single day to achieve her goals.
The interview between Audery and Traci took place on Saturday, 7 August 2021 @10:30am. This was conducted via Zoom due to the unfortunate COVID-19 restrictions.
Traci: You are a certified Cape Town tour guide for Escape+Explore. How did this opportunity come about?
Audery February: The opportunity came with Rock Girls [now BRAVE Rock Girl] where we could go on tours and share our stories with other people. I met Milly Haven, a previous Escape+Explore manager, and she really pushed me into taking up this opportunity. In a meeting with Escape+Explore, they offered to pay for my training course if I wanted to do it. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I went for my course and after I was awarded my certificate, I registered with Western Cape Tourism.
Traci: What inspired you to take up this opportunity?
Audery February: In 2017, I was in matric and had to make a decision about what I wanted to do next. I didn’t know that I was going to work for BRAVE, so I needed another work opportunity. I always loved tourism because I did it in school and I always wanted to explore the things that I had learnt.
Traci: Do you remember the first time you gave a guided tour? How did you feel on that day?
Audery February: Okay, on this day I remember I was working with Uncle John. We actually had this big lawyer from the U.S. as our guest, and I was so nervous because it was my first tour and I hoped that I was going to do well. We went to Robben Island and had a great conversation on the boat. There was this other guy on the boat who I was speaking with in Afrikaans – the lawyer didn’t understand a word and he was so fascinated with me speaking Afrikaans. When we got back, he was like “I would like to meet your family” and I thought okay, this is weird, but okay. So, I took him home and he met my grandmother and he was so nice. So that was my first tour.
Traci: What seemed most daunting to you when you first started out on this journey and has your opinion on this particular thing changed?
Audery February: I think the thing that I found most daunting about this experience is that I always go on tours with experienced guides. I feel a bit intimidated by them because they know a lot more than I do. I do still feel intimidated at times but seeing these experienced guides makes me want to go further into tourism.
Traci: How have you grown as a person through doing these tours and what have you learned about yourself?
Audery February: I feel like I’ve grown a lot in terms of becoming more outspoken and sharing my opinions about the places people come to visit in these tours. I feel like people come to Cape Town, or wherever they travel, to see the good parts and I think it is important to show that Cape Town isn’t all rosy.
I learned that I could be adventurous with even something that scares me. I learned to push myself and that I like the adrenaline when I do something that I am afraid to do.
Traci: What excites you most about the work you do?
Audery February: Being able to show people my city and share my experience of Cape Town
Traci: Do you have a favourite memory of working with Escape+Explore?
Audery February: I think my favourite memory is doing the We Are Africa events, where all the people who work in tourism in Cape Town get together at Green Point Stadium and we engage in meetings and networking. There are also awards happening during this time and I was nominated twice for the Up-and-Coming Rising Star award, Rise Africa, for new tour guides. I was so excited! I didn’t win the first time but the next year I was nominated again. I was so nervous because I was the only young person and the only woman. I was freaking out, keeping my fingers crossed, and I actually won! I felt proud of myself – I am not one to really be proud of what I have achieved, but this one time I was really proud and knew I could do so much more.
Traci: How has this experience empowered you as a young woman in Cape Town?
Audery February: I always knew while I was growing up, even though I was going through so much, I knew that there was something that I was destined to do. I knew I had to fight hard to get there and believe that I could achieve things. No matter the obstacles of where I come from, I have to define my own future. This whole experience, BRAVE and the tourism industry really pushes me forward. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been granted and for the people who have helped me. I am proud of myself, I don’t say it a lot, but I am proud of the person I have become.