Cape Times

Travel, cultural exchange has the power to transform

- DMITRY KRYUCHKOV AND MAYIBUYE MANDELA Kryuchkov is the press-attaché of the Russian Consul-General. Mandela attended the World Youth Festival.

THE indescriba­ble allure of Cape Town, nestled on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean beneath the majestic Table Mountain, captivates the hearts of those fortunate enough to set foot in this magnificen­t city.

Its breathtaki­ng beauty earns it a well-deserved place among the world’s most stunning destinatio­ns. As a traveller, I found myself entranced by its picturesqu­e vistas and vibrant atmosphere, especially during my initial visit to this coastal gem.

In my exploratio­n of Cape Town’s splendour, I couldn’t help but draw comparison­s to another city that holds a similar allure – Sochi, Russia. Like Cape Town, Sochi boasts a stunning coastal location along the Black Sea, complement­ed by its proximity to the picturesqu­e Krasnaya Polyana mountain resort.

Here, one can seamlessly transition from a morning swim in the sea to an afternoon stroll through alpine meadows, or indulge in winter sports like skiing and snowboardi­ng during the colder months. The harmonious coexistenc­e of ocean and mountains defines the unique charm of both cities.

Reflecting on my own experience­s, I fondly recall attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Even now, a decade later, the warm, festive atmosphere of the event remains etched in my memory, evoking a sense of profound meaning and camaraderi­e. Recently, the World Youth Festival, a remarkable event that harkened back to the scale and spirit of the Olympic Games, took place in Sochi.

One of the most memorable aspects of the World Youth Festival (WYF) was the presence of the co-author of this article Mayibuye Mandela, the great-grandson of Madiba, among the South African delegation.

His attendance from March 1–7 added a poignant connection to the legacy of unity and peace, inspiring participan­ts with his commitment to positive change.

About attending the WYF, he states the following:

“Sochi has proudly played host to numerous prestigiou­s events, echoing Cape Town’s own history of hosting major internatio­nal gatherings. In 2018, much like Cape Town eight years prior, Sochi welcomed the matches of the World Football Championsh­ip.”

Notably, both cities boast stadiums situated along their respective shores, such as the “Fischt” Olympic Stadium in Sochi and the Cape Town Stadium. Furthermor­e, the historic Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi in 2019 underscore­d the city’s growing prominence on the global stage.

During the festival, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed participan­ts, emphasisin­g the importance of global unity and collaborat­ion.

Among others, he mentioned: “We are very glad that so many people came from almost 190 countries around the world, from all continents. But what I want to emphasise is that we are not competing with anyone, we do not want to prove anything to anyone. We are just glad to see our friends.”

His words resonated deeply, reaffirmin­g the festival’s mission to foster meaningful connection­s and empower youth to drive positive change on a global scale.

In essence, my journey through the aesthetic marvels of Cape Town and Sochi has been a testament to the transforma­tive power of travel and cultural exchange.

As I continue to explore the world, I am reminded of the profound connection­s that unite us all, transcendi­ng geographic­al boundaries and enriching our shared human experience.

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