After leaving Cape Town a couple weeks ago, I felt torn about what I should write about. I could get all sappy like I have in the past, but I feel my personal experiences alone don’t do it justice. So, I decided it was best I just spell Cape Town out for you. Literally.
C – Courage. This city turns you into a very courageous person. From the city streets, to the top of Lion’s head, to venturing out on a safari, Cape Town brings out courage in people to face their fears and try new things. That’s what this place gave me and many others. It completely knocked me out of my comfort zone. I met new people, climbed epic mountains, and challenged myself in different ways. It’s the best thing I got from being there.
A – Aerial. The aerial views you get from Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, and Signal Hill are exquisite. Whether you reach their peaks at sunrise, midday, or sunset, you’re in for a breathtaking view. The view of the city and everything beyond, is like nothing else. And if you get a day when the clouds pour in over the city, fret not because there are plenty of peaks that bring you above them, and yes, it will feel like you’re in heaven.
P – Politics. In South Africa, Democratic freedom is still so new. The people appreciate it and value their right to vote. Not a day goes by when Nelson Mandela isn’t at least mentioned in a conversation. Although he is gone, his presence is as strong as ever. Not many people know this, but South Africa is facing a big challenge within its political landscape. The ANC (African National Congress), which has been a huge let down since Jacob Zuma became president, is actually losing a lot of the long time support they’ve had since it’s glory days with Mandela. Jacob Zuma has been nothing but a criminal, and it looks like his wife may end up being the frontrunner for the party, which does not better the situation at all. The DA (Democratic Alliance), which is dominated by whites, put up a black man as their frontrunner, but the people of SA aren’t buying it. The people of Cape Town have been leaders of protesting for the fall of Jacob Zuma, especially through the University of Cape Town. I’m amazed by how well versed everyone is on the issues, and how united people have become. But know that people in Cape Town and South Africa face a tough decision come their presidential election in 2019.
E– Environmentally-friendly. I’ve directly been a part of keeping Cape Town and Southern Africa green and eco-friendly. In 2015, I interned for an environmental organization that plants trees and works on other environmental projects. I saw this “green” spirit carried out through Cape Town and it’s surrounding areas. The people are serious about taking care of their environment. Right now, Cape Town is in a terrible drought and when I was recently there I had to be conscious of how much water I was using. The organization I worked for is raising money to introduce water-wise plants to Cape Town. You can help by donating here!
T – Townships. It’s important to recognize the socio-economic split in CPT. Some townships are vibrant and full of life, but many of them are also poor and run-down. The townships vs. the city and the suburbs reveal how divided this small area is with rich and poor, and with blacks, whites, and coloreds. This is significant to the culture in the Cape Town area and all over SA. When people tour CPT, they often do a township tour. My friends and I felt that was intrusive, although it was so common. We had the chance to work in the townships, with the people, community and schools through our internship, and that was the best way to learn and get involved.
See more here: https://youtu.be/_PeSroA_aPA
O – Outdoors. If you don’t like being outdoors, then definitely don’t go to Cape Town. With the beach, mountains, beautiful parks and gardens, and safaris not far away, spending time outdoors is basically a requirement. While the city itself provides some awesome museums, restaurants and shops, the landscapes are to die for. When in Cape Town, you must venture out – hike that mountain, relax on the beach, have a picnic in the park.
W – Wind. Cape Town may just be the real “Windy City” because on some days you could almost blow away. Because it’s surrounded by ocean, plenty of wind flows through, and although it makes the winters feel colder than they are, it can also make the summers feel perfectly cool. While it’s never a destructive or dangerous wind, you definitely can’t wear a hat. I learned the hard when I was walking home from work, and my bucket hat blew off my head right into the middle of traffic and down the busy city street. I stood there in shock, my friend laughing, but then a kind man who witnessed what happened ran after it for me and brought it back to me. He said, “You’re definitely not from here, because we know not to wear hats here!”
N – Native languages. SA has 11 official languages, including Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, and English. Zulu and Xhosa are two of the largest native, tribal languages, and although spoken all over the country, people in CPT make a huge effort to make it easy for foreigners to try and speak these languages. People were constantly teaching me words, restaurants and shops embraced the native languages in their menus and signs, and no one ever took offense if someone else chose to speak their first language. Unfortunately, I’m pretty bad at speaking these click languages, but it’s so beautiful to listen to and embrace while your in a city like CPT. I also discovered one of my favorite phrases here. It’s a Xhosa saying, “Kuhlangene isanga nenkohla”, and it means the wonderful and the impossible have collided. That’s what it felt like being in Cape Town. It was something so wonderful that I thought I would never get to experience, but I did.
This place definitely has the magic touch. I know I’ll be back again soon… #Cheers