Cape Town Journey (Sunday)

Sept. 30th 

Township Tour & Simons Town (as written by Mirabai)

Today we loaded ourselves into an oversized van, with Crosby as our guide, and headed off on our Township Tour.  We drove through District Six and past the museum which was closed because it was Sunday.  District Six began in 1867 as a community filled with families of diverse origins, yet by 1982, the life of the community was over and 60,000 people had been forcibly removed, because of the color of their skin, and relocated to a barren outlying area known as the Cape Flats.  We left District Six and headed out of town toward our first township, called Langa.  Crosby still lives here today.  He spoke much of the history of living here during the apartheid, giving us a first-hand impression of the trials and tribulations of that time.  Visibly now, the community has turned the once “men only” quarters into homes for their families.  There were many coming or going from church as any Sunday at home, but there still remains a vast difference from the township and central Cape Town.   We then traveled to an art center where many local artists displayed their wares.  We shopped for jewelry, sand paintings and ceramics.  The premises house a ceramics school and/or business, where we were graciously invited in for a tour of the process.   Back in the bus and off for an excursion to the next township.  We moved from a small, bustling community and art center to the whole lot of us, shoulder to shoulder in a metal-corrugated shanty. Here we were offered to try their local beer.   With an alcohol level well below anything to get you inebriated, I myself still chose to decline this local specialty.  It was explained that this was made only by women and served only by women as well.  Interestingly enough, the women didn’t drink it!  The shanties had no indoor plumbing and the toilets were found lined up along the street for almost a block.  Amazingly enough, the backdrop to all of this was a breathtaking view of Table Mountain.  Once again, this served as a clear reminder of the vast differences between inner and outer Cape Town. Next we traveled to the township of Khayelitsha.  As far as you could see across the horizon, lay a shanty town consisting of 1.2 million people.  Here live masses of people, being coaxed into believing that a new “free” building will replace their tin-roofed shanties.  I couldn’t help but think of our Native Americans, displaced and yet told they were receiving a gift, when they were shuffled off to a reservation.  It was hard to witness these conditions and moreover difficult when we were privileged to visit a complex which housed a family in a home not yet renovated, followed by one that had been renovated.   In every case, the people remained gracious and inviting as they opened their front doors to our group.  But the truth remains, as with most bureaucracies, the only time anything is really done…is during an election. We drove through the township seeing that most of the businesses are built in shipping containers.  There are street bar-b-ques displaying goat’s heads, small open-air markets, with grocery stores and gas stations filling in the corners.  Somewhere on a small street, in the midst of all of this, there stood Vicky’s Bed and Breakfast.  Vicky, a sharp, young black women decided to open the only B&B in the township, in order to give visitors a first-hand experience in the area.  She invited us in, gave us a tour and told us of her venture.  She proudly exhibits the only two-story building in the area and I’m sure will continue to spread the word of her township through her ingenuity and bright smile.   We ended our township tour with a visit to one of the local churches, where we delighted in song, dance and God.  What a perfect ending to an experience filled with so much emotion. In our high-stress world, with its emphasis on material wealth and instant gratification, it is important to take a moment to get back to basics—especially if the basics are as profoundly rewarding as the real people of Africa.  Back to the lodge, we gathered ourselves once again, filling the two rental vans and we were off to Simons Town and the Penguins.  Yes, that’s right Penguins in Africa!  What a lovely site, nestled in a sheltered cove between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, The Boulders is a world famous spot for a thriving colony of African Penguins.    We walked along the boardwalk, in close range of the birds, with some of us witnessing even more than “just a snuggle.” 

We ended the evening, in the harbor, with a group dinner at Bertha’s.

Explore posts in the same categories: Journal Entry

2 Comments on “Cape Town Journey (Sunday)”

  1. Haya Says:

    What a beautiful story and thanks for sharing. I wish I could see the penguins in Africa, that would be cool.

  2. SoZa! Says:

    The penguins are just tooo cute. I love the
    Cape Peninsula

    If anyone is looking for a private tour check out
    ShareSouthAfrica.com


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