It is no secret that the young adults of today, aka the Millenials and Gen Z, are becoming progressively less independent, more indulged and cossetted than before. In fact, self-sufficiency is not something you could ascribe to many of them in a hurry. How many can change a tyre, use basic navigation, know basic self-defence or can build and light a fire?
Even though we live in an information age with an abundance of data right at our fingertips, many young people lack the necessary skills to survive in a world full of difficult challenges. Sharon Kruger and Roux de Jager of Mbombela realised the need for guidance while raising their own kids and watching them tackle difficult situations.
“The person who said there will be better intelligence once there is better information available, certainly got it wrong. In an hour we are now bombarded with the same amount of information that a 39-year-old gathered in his lifetime in the Middle Ages, yet the more we know, the more we don’t know,” says Roux.
He and Sharon thought about the idea of presenting adult survival skills courses at the secondary schools in the area. After grasping that it would not be possible due to a lack of interest and a huge amount of red tape necessary for them to be allowed to work with the kids, they decided to tackle it in a different manner. Their own children are perfect examples of teenagers spending hours on YouTube, surfing the net or playing online games.
“Roux and I realised that we still would be able to reach not only the teenagers, but a wider audience if we make use of videos and YouTube. In this way, we can share tips on surviving difficult situations and teach anyone who watches the videos these adult survival skills. We also decided that we won’t attract the necessary attention if we act as Sharon and Roux, so the Bat and the Cat were born. I love Catwoman and Roux likes Batman, so we got ourselves a Bat and a Cat costume and started making our own videos,” Sharon says.
From there a whole new adventure started. They loaded a few informational videos on YouTube that varied from teaching people how to change a tyre and brake pads, to foraging for food making use of a shopping list, as well as various videos on relationship survival. Their channel soon blossomed into informational videos on various kinds of adventures like shark cage diving, self-defence videos and a meeting with a jackal buzzard. The Bat and the Cat have also visited local festivals like Innibos where Jason Goliath from Comedy Central spotted them and decided to feature them on his reality show.
Their aim at the moment is to have fun and to share the information, knowledge and skills they have acquired over the years. They plan to do a lot more in the line of survival skills and plan on incorporating a number of professional people in the future, making use of a number of different platforms. The one thing that these two don’t want to do is merely exist, to go to work from Monday to Friday with no adventure or fun in their lives. They are constantly looking for new experiences and when the opportunity arises, they grab it and make sure to catch it on camera in order to share it with the world. Ask, believe and receive, is a motto that they both believe in firmly. Roux also likes to use the words of Theodore Roosevelt as an affirmation to inspire him every day: Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are.
Getting your message heard isn’t always easy, but the pair believe they have a winner with their unorthodox manner of getting their point across.
Sharon laughs when she says that at first, it wasn’t easy to don a Catwoman mask and walk into a function hall filled with people. “But the more I do it, the easier it becomes. I turn into someone else, with a lot more confidence the moment I put on my mask. When we get back home and start to edit the videos, it’s almost like a painting, you can only judge it once you have the finished product. We are extremely proud of everything that we have done so far. The Bat and the Cat are here to stay.”
Follow their YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCmarSoxw3z07Hl3KDjQBy5w/featured
Text: ALITA STEENKAMP