Cape Town, South Africa: The Best Thank You

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Cape Town, South Africa: The Best Thank You

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the little ‘heaven’ of Africa. Popularly known as the “Mother City” in South Africa, it is a prime tourist destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. Located at the southern tip of the African continent, Cape Town is simply a jewel and an amazing city to live in.

I came to Cape Town in 2009, a year before the watershed Fifa World Cup soccer tournament was hosted in South Africa (the only African country to host the event so far). There is no doubt that the tournament painted a different picture than how people from overseas perceived Cape Town, South Africa, and the African continent as a whole.

The economy of the city lies in the hands of tourism. This does not come as a surprise considering the natural beauty that fills the entire city. This natural beauty is clearly visible in the people, the landscape and the buildings. The story of Cape Town can never be told without mentioning the Table Mountain, the V & A Waterfront, Robben Island, the wine lands, Cape Point and the townships. On top of the natural beauty, Cape Town is also home to adventure sports, such as Tandem Paragliding.

If you need a recommendation for accommodation, check out Constantia Villa.

Recently voted as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Table Mountain is a mountain with a flat top that somehow resembles a table. During cloudy days, a cloud can be seen to cover the mountain and this cloud is commonly referred to as the “table-cloth.” The mountain has really become the symbol of Cape Town, just as much as the Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Paris. Every year, tourists come from far and wide to just see the mountain, and others even have the opportunity to hike on it.

One of the most adorable things about Capetonian taxi passengers is that when they want to disembark the taxi, they say “Enkosi,” meaning thank you. I don’t know any other city that does that. It is a city filled with beautiful and grateful people.

WM

The majority of the people who visit Cape Town and the mountain make it a point to use the cableway. When I enrolled at a local university, I was part of a group of foreign students that were taken for a tour. Although we did not get the chance to use the cableway, one of the tour guides clearly told us that if you visit Cape Town and don’t use the cableway, then you have committed an ‘unforgivable sin.’

Most of the tourists who make their way to Cape Town find themselves at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. In all honesty, there is no way on earth that people cannot give themselves the opportunity to see this magnificent place. The Waterfront complex welcomes in excess of 23 million visitors per year. This is Cape Town at its best. I have to admit that I have had the opportunity to work at the Waterfront for almost eighteen months.

The Waterfront is really a hub of activity. It is like visiting an international center for all mankind because, in a day, you are likely to meet several people from different countries. During its peak period or the holidays, it is like a physical mixture of all countries. I worked in the hospitality industry and my job involved talking to people extensively. Sometimes I found myself communicating with people who didn’t speak any other language except their own. I managed to understand their needs even if no words were exchanged between us. It was stressful, but also entertaining. Communication is not only about the spoken word, but also about the unspoken word.

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Cape Town FIFA Stadium

As a tourist destination and place of relaxation, the Waterfront is awash with several restaurants and hotels. These restaurants are numerous, but you will still find them full. These restaurants provide employment to many people. After midnight the place goes quiet, although a few places will still be open.

One thing that Capetonians (people who live in Cape Town) like to talk about is the weather. If ever there is anything that is unpredictable in the city, then it is the weather. There is a popular saying that “You can experience four seasons in one day” if you are in the city. You may easily wake up to a cold and chilly morning and in a few hours’ time the sun comes out, then in no time it will be raining. All this can happen in one day and you just have to be prepared for any eventuality.

Robben Island is one place that every Capetonian, if not every South African is very familiar with. The oval-shaped island is only a few kilometers away from the Waterfront. The ferries to the island are found at the Waterfront. Many people are not fond of the island because it is attractive or has something very special to offer, but because of the role it played during apartheid, a pre-democracy system of governance that suppressed the natives.

The island previously served as a jail for nationalists, politicians and all those who advocated for democracy. It is well-known for being Nelson Mandela’s place of incarceration for eighteen years. Ironically, two former presidents and the current president of the country were prisoners on the island. Robben Island was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Heritage Site by the state.

The city plays host to many international events, competitions, festivals, celebrities and famous people. Some of the popular events hosted by the city include the International Jazz Festival and the Two Oceans Marathon. A few years ago, while working part-time for a catering company, I had the opportunity to watch U2 perform live at the Cape Town Stadium. It was an unforgettable experience for me. Although I didn’t watch the lion’s share of the concert, I remember vividly the closing act as if it happened yesterday. The stadium was full and there was a sea of hands waving in the air. It was just electric and one of those few moments you wish you can freeze and re-live again from time to time.

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Cape Town Trail

The languages spoken in the city include IsiXhosa (spoken mainly by the black people), Afrikaans (spoken mainly by White and Colored people) and English, the main medium of communication. The city is mainly inhabited by Coloreds (people of mixed race), the Whites, Indians and the Black people.

The majority of the blacks and the coloreds live in an area called the Cape Flats. This is a flat and low-lying area that includes two of the city’s biggest neighborhoods, Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain. Some parts of the Cape Flats are very dangerous due to gang wars. Shootings take place regularly. At some point, the shootings were rife to the point that city’s leadership at the time called for the Army to step in. In other areas, such as Khayelitsha, there aren’t many shootings or gang wars, but there are plenty of robberies. I have heard of people who were killed for a mere cellphone. I guess every city has its own ghost and nightmare, and this is Cape Town’s nightmare.

Cape Town is a culturally diverse city. It is home to millions of immigrants and expatriates, mostly from other African countries. Over the years, there has been tension between locals and foreigners. The local people accuse the foreigners of taking their jobs and stealing their women. At some point, this led to violence.

Cape Town, just like the rest of the country, has good and beautiful roads. The most commonly used form of public transport is the train. It is mainly used because it is cheaper and can accommodate a lot of people. During the peak hour, the trains are so full that it is almost impossible to find an empty seat. Sometimes you can even find people standing between carriages because it is too full to stand.

During these rides to or from work, you are guaranteed to find people preaching the word of God. In these carriages, you will hear the people passionately singing hymns. South Africans really love music and dance. There is also another carriage that is reserved for smokers. In this carriage, you can smell weed. I sat in this carriage once and I don’t advise any non-smoker to do the same thing.

Apart from trains, people uses buses and taxis. People love to use taxis in the morning, especially when they are late or there is a lot of traffic. Taxi drivers pay little attention to road rules and their main, if not only, aim is to get passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible. One of the most adorable things about Capetonian taxi passengers is that when they want to disembark the taxi, they say “Enkosi,” meaning thank you. I don’t know any other city that does that. It is a city filled with beautiful and grateful people.

For more on South Africa, check out Johannesburg.

Williams Mugwagwa

Williams Mugwagwa

Williams Mugwagwa is a passionate and professional freelance writer who currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a natural writer who loves to write about topics that stimulate his creativity and intelligence. Some of his work can be found on Peopleperhour.com. When not writing, he likes to color and brighten his world with thoughts, imagination, and ideas.

1 Comment

  • Erika
    Erika

    Thank you for this great overview of Cape Town!

    June 5, 2017 at 7:20 pm
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