• Mandisa Magwaxaza

Jumping off a Cliff is as Simple as Starting a Business

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

I let myself go and I dropped at 140km/per hour down the face of a gorge. So much happened in my mind as I listened out for the count of three that would set me to free-fall into the thrill and freedom of mimicking flight. Before today, I had never known complete surrender. I had to allow the promise of achieving something to matter more than the assurance of gravity in the comfort of the safety railings. It took 3 microwave seconds to plunge into the cool air above the dense forest in the gorge.


So what's the difference between jumping off a cliff and starting a business? When you jump off a cliff you touch the ground. Starting a business is a never-landing flight with new horizons to conquer at every turn.

I arrived at the Graskop Gorge Lift Company with my mind made up. I knew long before my feet touched Mpumalanga soil that I would take on the Big Swing. I’m a laid-back traveller, it’s easy for me to settle where the road takes me if it feels right. However, I do enjoy getting the lay of the land beforehand so I have a workable understanding of the destination and a bucket list to narrow my choices.

I came on a site inspection a few days before jump day and went down the Graskop Gorge Lift with colleagues who were also hosted buyers at the inaugural Mpumalanga Tourism Expo 2021.


The Graskop Gorge Lift took us 51 meters down the face of the gorge into the indigenous forest below it, safely encased in a steel elevator with a glass wall for viewing. I traced the water falling down the other side of the gorge with my eyes as the lift mimicked the water dropping into the cool forest canopy.


“Into the forest, I go to lose my mind and find my soul”. A fitting greeting as we stepped off the lift and onto 600 meters of wooden walkways and suspension bridges which create a trail between the trees, vines and rocks of the indigenous forest. The effort put into preserving the natural position and shape of the fauna is evident in the concrete walls inconveniently structured atop angular boulders. Every plant species and site of interest is marked so anyone can explore the diverse life that thrives under the dense canopy of trees. The sky is mirrored by the pool that collects the waterfall and then disperses it down a meandering stream. I just had to come back to have an intimate moment with this secret of nature.


My favourite moment of the jump was the loud, gutral scream I let out without any inhibitions. It felt like 2-years-of-lockdown worth of frustration rushed out of me and dispersed over the gorge, never to be mine again. Once the harness is off, Graskop Big Swing jumpers get to ride the Lift back up to the viewing deck infront of the Lift Cafe. I took my sweet time getting to the lift. Pleasanlty overwhlemed by the silence of being alone in the forest. In that moment I had nothing to carry, no one to engage but the trees and rocks, and nothing to worry about. I was with a lighter me. WW! That scream was really therapeutic.

What I learned from jumping the Graskop Gorge is that sometimes we just need to decide once and take the plunge. There is always a lifeline, even when we cannot see it - something or someone will catch us. Even if that person is you and the lifeline is your skills d network. That's a suffieicient starter-pack to launch into new ventures. That's precisely what I did on my return from Mpumalanga. I decided to relaunch my business in the direction I always wanted. I decided that the possibility of seeing tourism SMMEs succeed because of the value I can add matters more to me than my fears.


So what's the difference between jumping off a cliff and starting a business? When you jump off a cliff you will touch the ground. Starting a business is a never-landing flight with new horizons to conquer at every turn.


Join me at the launch of Molo Mhami Relations on the 30th of September 2021 to hear about the journey ahead. RSVP here.


WATCH THE EXPERIENCE


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