In 2011 the Serengeti Boys were formed and took part in their first ever VISTA competition. It was the start of a remarkable journey that took them all the way to Gothenburg, Sweden, for the world final.
Tiago Alves, After Sales Manager; Justin Charles, Customer Adviser; and Shukrani Mbwilo, a technician; all work for Auto Sueco Tanzania Ltd in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salam, which was founded in 2007. They started VISTA 2011 as one of only three Tanzanian teams in a competition traditionally dominated by South Africa, but performed exceptionally well in the qualifying rounds to be one of the five teams to reach the semi finals. Not surprisingly all four of their opponents were South African, but the Serengeti Boys defied history and all expectations to finish on top. Their prize – a trip to Gothenburg, Sweden where they represented Southern Africa in the VISTA world final.
“I’m feeling so nervous and happy to get this chance,” said Justin, at the semi final award ceremony in Johannesburg. “I know I will learn a lot of new things. VISTA is wonderful and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Making it to the world final was an extraordinary feat, not least because it was the first time the Serengeti Boys have ever taken part in VISTA. Tiago has worked with Volvo Trucks for twelve years having started with Auto Sueco in his native Portugal, but his two teammates only joined Auto Sueco Tanzania 18 months ago, with no previous experience working with Volvo Trucks.
“Our initial impression when we started was that if we try our best, we can achieve a high ranking,” says Tiago. But his assessment of their chances was radically re-evaluated as the team went from strength-to-strength, and when the team arrived in Gothenburg for the final, confidence was high.
“I think we did very well. If we had more time, we would have gotten all the tasks right,” claimed Justin after the world final. “We have learnt a lot but the most important lesson is that you have to read everything.”