Now it is time to explore Cape Town and the Western cape of South Africa. I already know I will return here for longer so this short visit was a nice taster and reminder of a wonderful city – last time I was here was around 1993 – things have certainly movie on since then.
Our apartment was a five minute walk from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront area – this is the place where everything happens in Cape Town so it is great to be close by. By day it is a fun place to visit to eat, shop, listen to live music and generally watch the world go by. By night it is very prettily lit and buzzing – also very safe and well patrolled by security guards.
On the next sunny morning we headed off to the impressive Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens – massively large area to wander about and enjoy flora and sculpture – would definitely recommend.
I wanted to take a look at the Silo Hotel (formerly an actual silo) which many people had recommended to me. I went for lunch and loved the interior design of the place – I didn’t know at the time that I would be staying in another hotel by the same owners when I reached Hermanus – more of that shortly.
On a much more sober note we toured the District 6 area and the township of Langa. It is always difficult to decide whether it is a good idea to be a tourist in these kinds of places – not because they are scary but because you don’t want people to feel they are being stared at. This tour was better because once we reached the township we got off the bus and a local resident took us around and explained how the townships began and how they were slowly (way too slowly) being modernised into more acceptable public housing and less corrugated iron – but they are still overcrowded and the wait for some for the better style of housing has been more than 20 years.
The District 6 Museum was well put together explaining the history of the area where people were segregated into different “varieties” of colour – black, Malay, coloured and of course had most of their rights curtailed as a result and they were housed in different areas so many families were pulled apart if they were interracial at that time. The definitions of each group are awful to read as you consider that humans took the time to classify other humans like this. If it was not clear what group you belonged they did a pencil test – this involved putting a pencil in your hair – if it stayed put you were black if it fell out you were coloured. How strange and distressing we humans are at times.