South Africa’s Cities, Cape Town & Jo’burg

Cape Town has a lot going for it – a great waterfront, Robben Island, and of course Table mountain.

Cape Town

The V &A waterfront is Victoria and Alfred not Albert as we are used to.  Its a huge shopping area with four hundred and  fifty shops. There are plenty of places to eat and this is where you can get the ferry to Robben Island.

Robben Island

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned here for eighteen years . The guides are former prisoners who did hard labour in the line quarry. When you get off the ferry a bus trip takes you round then you are shown Mandela’s cell and exercise yard.

 

The Real Cape Town

 

The District Six museum in an old Methodist church tells the story of how the local residents were treated in the 1960’s and 70’s . 60,000 residents were forcibly removed to separate the races under apartheid. Surprisingly the museum is bright and cheerful with lots of local artwork.

A visit to a township was interesting but a bit depressing. We visited a spaza shop, a small convenience store and then a shebeen, a local bar. We saw the living conditions of the residents and its wasn’t great. How life can still be like this so long after the end of apartheid I do not know.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain is the main event. The iconic landmark of the city. Its a five minute trip to the top by the cable car. Sixty five people fit into one revolving car on the ride to the top. From here depending on the weather ( the cloud often covers the top) you get outstanding views. 80,000 visitors go up every year and walk around before taking the journey back down. A walk to see the fynbos is interesting, its a special type of shrubland. The most famous is the protea, the national flower of South Africa.

 

 

Johannesburg

This city is South Africa’s largest but it was really just our starting point for a safari. We did manage time to go to the Apartheid museum. This is a multi media exhibition of South Africa’s history. Thee are many photos and films as you walk through history. Its very well done. Your ticket assigns you as either black or white and you enter by the gate for your colour to bring home to you how people were treated. But try as you might you will not find any mention of Mandela ever having a gun. History can be selective.

 

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