2019 Aug/Sept. South Africa, Scotland, Switzerland, Singapore travel blog

Cape Town and Robben Island (Nelson Mandella)

Cape of Good Hope in background

Fog Harvesting programme

Cape Town city area

‘Informal settlement’

Learning the bongo drums

Day 4. Cape Town

We went to the top of Table Mountain by Cablecar which was a bonus for a few reasons - it was closed for maintenance for 6 weeks, due to reopen on 19th August, but the work was completed early and it was up and running on Monday 12th. It was closed yesterday afternoon due to strong winds. We had gale force winds during the night, and we both felt there was no way it would be operating - but about 4am the winds died down and we woke to a beautiful, still day. Yeah! We had an early start to beat the crowds, and just as well we did! We spent an hour wandering around taking photos and admiring the spectacular views on a very clear day, then time to return and begin a city orientation tour, where we drove through V&A Waterfront - the A is for Alfred, not Albert - then through Bo Kaap, an area formerly known as the Malay Quarter. It is a former township situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city centre and a historical centre of Cape Malay culture in Cape Town. The Nurul Islam Mosque (1844) is located in the mainly Muslim area full of coloured houses which were painted in bright colours after Ramadan, and then we were told about District Six a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town where over 60,000 inhabitants were forcibly removed during the 1970s by the apartheid regime (1948-early 1990’s).

After lunch we did an Historical Tour, which touched some of this morning’s info. We went to the District Six Museum where there’s a plaque outside saying “Remember with shame the many thousands of people who lived for generations in District Six and other parts of this city, and were forced by law to leave their homes because of the colour of their skin. Father, forgive us.” Heartbreaking, sad stories. Our guide was very knowledgeable and passionate, and took us past the District Six area, which was razed back then and is still mostly barren! One church and the synagogue were left standing. Further out through the suburbs to the township of Langa, established in 1927 as homes for Black Africans. Today it is surrounded by an ‘informal settlement’ - coloured tin sheds in close proximity. As we drove to the centre of Langa there were hundreds of people wandering around. Met our guide who talked about the establishment and growth of the town, about the fight against apartheid and todays development and successes. He talked the ‘click’ language and took us to the Tourist Office where we played the bongo drums - what fun!

Back to the hotel for dinner then bed! It’s been a big day.

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