Francois Viljoen

Operations Manager, Open Africa

�Africa's story is not really being told to the world.It's our role to go out to tell it,� says Francois Viljoen, operations manager for Open Africa, a 15-year-old NGO that develops self-help travellers' routes throughout Southern Africa using small and emerging entrepreneurs from local communities. Open Africa now has 56 routes that run through six countries, involve more than 2 000 small businesses and projects, and jointly employ more than 28 000 people. Their aim is to span the entire continent, from Cape Town to Cairo. Viljoen, who has been involved in the organisation for five years now, says he has always had a passion for Africa. A short stint abroad made him realise how much he missed Africa and its people, and that his future lay in helping to develop the continent and bring its richness to the attention of the world. He has travelled extensively in the southern part of the continent � "More than most people who live there� � and says the opportunity to travel is one of the perks of his job. He left his hometown, Johannesburg, to study geography and environmental studies at Stellenbosch university, and has been in the Cape ever since. This year he is studying for an MBA, to improve his management skills in order to benefit Open Africa. He is adamant that we need to change the perception of Africa as the dark continent. "There are fantastic stories out there, stories that aren't being told in the mainstream media. Africa has incredibly rich cultures and magnificent natural resources. It's the birthplace of humanity.� � Tarryn Harbour

Lunch spot:The Brass Bell, Kalk Bay, Cape Town