FUTURE CAPE TOWN | Voices of the city: Bonnie Horbach

“Cape Town teaches me that nothing is as it seems…”

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This week’s Voice of the City is political activist, Bonnie Horbach, who is currently acting as the Consul General for the Netherlands in Cape Town.

Future Cape Town Support Us LogoVoices of the City is a weekly feature that spotlights the everyday lives of our citizens, living and working in the city. By asking the same five questions to all our interviewees, we discover not only how our experiences of the city differ, but also what we share. It is a daunting task to try and capture the diverse experiences of our city’s inhabitants, but we feel that it is a worthy, and necessary, endeavor, in order to better understand the present and future of our city. 

Bonnie Horbach was appointed as the Consul General for the Netherlands in Cape Town on the first of July 2013. She studied History and Law at the University of Amsterdam and lived and worked in a lot of different countries: the US, Ghana, Mali and Belgium, where she managed the public affairs office in Brussels for Dutch industrialists Ballast Nedam, Damen Shipyards, Philips Medical systems, Stork and Sulzer.

In 2002, she made a transfer to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through which she was placed in Bangkok and Bagdad. In 2007, she was presented with the opportunity to become the spokesperson for Frans Timmermans, then State Secretary for European Affairs. It proved an amazing opportunity to learn from the best.

After three years working with Timmermans, Bonnie became Head of the Recruitment Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and not soon after was appointed Consul General in Cape Town, a position she has since approached true to her character: with inexhaustible energy, enthusiasm and focus.

Bonnie has also announced the 2015 edition of the #cocreateSA fund. Through the fund an investment of R500,000 will be made in long-term South African-Dutch partnerships that co-create solutions for local challenges.With this investment the Netherlands continues its #cocreateSA Fund, which was launched in 2014 as a legacy of the Dutch involvement in World Design Capital Cape Town 2014. Last year, nine projects addressing sustainability issues have been awarded over R500,000 as part of the 2014 #cocreateSA Fund. More information here

What about Cape Town inspires you the most?

Cape Town teaches me that nothing is as it seems, it challenges me to expect the unexpected, and not to take anything at face value and judge too quickly

Do you have a secret space or place that you enjoy in the city?

I enjoy her majesty, Table Mountain the most…

What was the last exciting event you attended in the city?

Any one of the Changemakers dinners that I host. Changemakers are a group of local innovators who engage in their community in new and inspiring ways. They are thought leaders who challenge the norm and break the mould to facilitate change.

What frustrates you about the city?

Nothing – I love this city, with all its complexities and challenges. I have been living in quite a number of cities and this would be the only one I would actually consider to stay.

You can have dinner with one person living or dead. Who is it and why?

My future soulmate. Still looking for the one that will accompany me on my journey

Bonnie Horbach and Lily LR