David Ky Recount of World Cup - South Africa

10 Jul 2016

Some have asked me if I can describe the World Cup experience in one word and I simply can't. It was a collection of experiences and memories that I will forever remember and share with the peers I travelled with and met at the World Cup.

This year, I was very fortunate to be sponsored by American Express and Enactus Australia to attend the World Cup hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was joined by 6 other fellow students; Brandon Cheung, Danny Huang, Jeanne Kuang, Anthea Lai, Dominic Tran and Linda Truong who were sponsored by the UNSW Business School.

After a short trip to Cape Town and Kruger National Park, we arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday just a few hours before the World Cultural Experience. Just walking out of the nearby hotel, we could feel the energy that was bustling towards the convention centre. I have always heard great things about the World Cultural Experience but upon entering the hall, everything said to me would have to be an understatement. I was immediately infected with everyone's smiles. There was so much pride that everyone had for their own culture. Even though the pride was so strong, there was a sense of respect which created harmony between us all. Walking along each country stand, teams would unconditionally gift food and cultural souvenirs. We were greeted by the University of New England who were representing Australia with the wattle golden yellow ties and scarves with rich green t-shirts. Teams would break into song and dance drawing together crowds from every corner of the hall. Soon after the Cultural Experience we moved upstairs and waited in anticipation for the Opening Ceremony to start.

It really feels different being there compared to what you see in the online Enactus video streams. With formalities underway, we are greeted and inspired on stage by prolific icons from Dr Dlamini Zuma (Chairperson of the African Union Commission) to Kees Kruythoff (President of Unilever North America), Chrysula Winegar (Special Advisor from the United Nations Foundation) and many more! The championship leagues are drawn and everyone hastily moves back to the hotel to get some rest before the big day!

Opening rounds started at 9 am. Nice and early as usual. Our team of 7 split up to observe as many presentations as we could. We wrote down insights to bring back to the team. The entrepreneurial progress enabled is absolutely inspiring and phenomenal. Every team had something different to offer. I really liked how a lot of the international teams ventured into product innovations drawing upon their strong engineering/technology strengths back at university. It was also great to see how Enactus Korea effectively addressed the needs of very small marginalised groups such as blind masseurs and ex-inmate women. I really hope that we can inspire other Australian teams to strive towards new heights by drawing upon what we saw, and the impact that teams achieved for their communities..

Around noon, we regrouped and headed over to the 'Innovation Stations' where sponsors showcased how they solve innovative problems and take entrepreneurial action. The day went on and more teams presented. In the evening, semi-final rounds were announced. The next day, energy in the convention centre was in full swing. I woke up at 7 am to hear the South African team chanting 'Shosholoza' (Traditional Song – Move Fast) as they walk over to practice and prepare for their presentation. After watching the semi-final rounds, the finalists (congratulations to USA, Morocco, Korea and UK) were announced and similar to the Australian National Conference, final rounds began immediately. There was a long intermission where we were addressed by Alvin Rohrs inspiring us to overcome adversity and then we were entertained by a choir. This was one of my most memorable moments where the crowd suddenly broke into song and dance and formed a human train in the hall.

Soon after, the crowd waited in anticipation for the winning team to be announced, eventually congratulating Enactus UK, and the University of Southampton, but I felt that it no longer mattered. Everyone was in good spirits and the atmosphere was really radiating that at the end of the day we really all win.

I really can't wait until next year's World Cup to be hosted in Toronto, Canada. Would love to be there. Completely in awe of what has been achieved and this only leaves the sky as the limit. I have kept in touch with people from France, Ireland, Singapore, Canada and South Africa.