Hello there, fellow bloggers! It’s been a while since you heard from us but we hope that you are all well and happy and “enjoying” the winter weather (or the “summer” weather which Jeanne reports has been nonexistent in London). Here in the Western Cape we have had a strange winter so far: at first it didn’t seem to appear and then it arrived overnight with a vengeance. Then it disappeared again and we had the most stunning weather for a while; and then suddenly it was winter again, with rain falling in horizontal sheets as it was driven by a merciless north-westerly gale.
Why am I so fixated on the weather? Well, the sad fact is that every time it rains in Cape Town I lose my internet connection. Despite numerous visits from various techie people, the problem remains unresolved and the bottom line is that when the internet cables get wet, our connection goes; and it only comes on again when they dry out a bit. It is hellishly frustrating to try and run a business online from home under those conditions and it has thrown a rather large spanner in the works of the 2013 Indaba organisation. Searching for sponsors and venues online; communicating with them; and making electronic funds transfers to pay deposits all fall by the wayside. Add to that the generally dire state of the economy – marketing budgets have been squeezed to make sponsorship rather like blood from a stone, and bloggers are struggling to make ends meet – and you have something of a perfect storm.
Jeanne and I have spent some time debating and agonising (when my internet connection worked!) over what to do. Do we grit our teeth and have an Indaba this August as planned, even though we know we are going to struggle with sponsorship and ticket sales? Or do we disappoint our beloved food blogging community and postpone the Indaba? It’s not an easy choice and not one that we would take lightly. But the bottom line is that both Jeanne and I are perfectionists and we like to do things properly. We want every Indaba to be as perfect as we can possibly make it, both for participants and for sponsors – and right now neither of us is sure that we can deliver perfection in two months time, given the current obstacles. So because we simply cannot take the chance of presenting you with a half-baked Indaba, we have taken the difficult choice not to hold the Indaba this year, but to postpone it to the first quarter of 2014 instead.
We are obviously disappointed as we had already started kicking around ideas about the topics and speaker line-up, and we have found an amazing venue that you are going to *love* – but don’t you worry, we are keeping all those ideas and connections going on the back burner till next year. It just seems like the wiser choice, building on the preparations we have already made and giving ourselves enough time to present an Indaba in 2014 that we, the sponsors and the participants can be proud of, rather than to dish up a rush job this year just to be able to say we had some sort of Indaba in 2013. On the other hand, we suspect some of you will be breathing sighs of relief at the thought of having a few more months to save up for a ticket. 2013 is proving to be a very difficult year in lots of different ways for many people, and some of you have even written to us to say you are so sorry but you cannot afford to attend the Indaba this year. We hear you all and we fully understand – so that was another major consideration in deciding to postpone the Indaba until 2014. And anyway – returning to the topic of the weather in the first paragraph – we’d hate to make you leave your warm, snug homes in the depth of a stormy Cape Town winter! It will be so much nicer to be able to arrive at the Indaba in sunlight and enjoy balmy sundowners afterwards – and nobody likes to schlep a heavy goodie bag to their car in the rain!
So on that note (and before I lose my internet connection again!), we’d like to apologise once again for any disappointment that our decision has caused, but we can promise you that we will present you with an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza of an Indaba in early 2014. Please do start planning and saving NOW for 2014! We can’t give you an exact date yet, but we hope to nail down the venue and Jeanne’s travel dates in the next week or so, and as soon as we have a date you will be the first to know so that you can diarise the date and start your ticket savings fund. In the meantime, you can be sure that we will be working tirelessly to bring you the very best Indaba yet.
Colleen and Jeanne
The Food and Wine Blogger Indaba Team