As far back as October 2012, Noeksie had set her sights on talking at FEAT 2013 and when the email arrived confirming that her wish had come true, the planning and associated stress started. FEAT is an adventure show where speakers are each given 7 minutes to give a Fascinating Adventure and Expedition Talks (FEAT). This is daunting in its own right, as you are only allowed 21 slides which run automatically and you are literally cut off at 7 minutes. After discussing this with Vusi Thembakwayo, a world class public speaker, he even saw this as a challenge and then my stress levels started rising on behalf of Noeksie.
At the beginning of September 2013 the planning and preparation started in earnest with Noeksie, trying to decide on her final content for the big day (SOAP - Climbing African Mountains). This turned out to be a challenge in its own right with Noeksie changing her mind every few hours based on some input from another confidant or friend and with her becoming more and more stressed as her talk was not getting finished. At one stage I decided to throw in the towel and leave her to her own devices as she would not listen to reason and got herself into a mess. After some discussions and her great smile, she persuaded me to continue helping her and that she would start listening to reason.
After many hours of finding photos and a coherent message which could be completed in 7 minutes, the practicing started. Noeksie rehearsed the presentation more than 30 times and after a while her nerves we under control and everything was on track for the big day. After buying numerous massagers to deal with her stiff neck we were in the car and off to the Victory Theatre for the big evening.
The one thing I found amazing was talking to all the speakers backstage. They had all achieved the most amazing things but they were all panicking about their talks. Noeksie could not sit still and was all nerves until it was her time to start speaking. Wow, she aced the presentation! She was calm and relaxed and her passion for life and the mountains was palpable. As usual she did the talk her own way and the audience were hanging on every word. It was amazing and when the videos did not display as rehearsed, she looked at me and then just continued as if nothing had happened. Nobody was any the wiser and she finished with her head held high. It was her passion for the mountains and the environment which brought it all together and Noeksie has this in droves.
She was not allowed to promote any cause specifically, however was able to add a reference to SOAPkidz and her commitment to cleaning the mountains. Her fans were all wearing SOAPkidz t-shirts and Noeksie also used the opportunity to hand out SOAPkidz brochures and information to people like Simon Gear who was aware of SOAPkidz through his Talk 702 environmental shows. Noeksie was also interviewed at FEAT 2013 and has appeared in articles in “Out Here” and “Woman’s Health”.
Noeksie was able to raise awareness for SOAP and SOAPkidz and put out a great message of hope and how one can make a difference. She also made sure that people must also see an adventure as both the destination and the journey, as it is in the journey that you meet the interesting people and have the life altering experiences.
This was an amazing feat and Noeksie was a great ambassador for us all showing many people that we can all make a difference and be significant “because it’s pure magic, when kids and nature meet”.