Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The land of Nelson Mandela - The Wandering Writer

Straight from the wonders of the Mosi-oa-Tunya in Zimbabwe, we reached Cape Town via Johannesburg. The first impression as we arrived at the airport was that we were in a very different part of Africa. It keeps very high standards equal to any Western country. The airport is the third busiest airport in Africa, and I also presume on the top three most efficient too, so we didn’t have any sort of trouble to reach the taxi station to our hotel.
It was already dark when we arrived, and we were supposed to reach a bed and breakfast in the city by 21:00. The weather seemed to be fair, and we were not too tired either.
However, the more we were reaching the city, the more the weather seemed to deteriorate; it wasn’t a question of temperature, but it seemed that there was a hurricane approaching. Now, I know that South Africa is not subject to hurricanes, but the wind can reach impressive speed, as we learned right away. Moreover, finding the address seemed to be the most challenging of all the things, and our taxi driver struggled. We knew how the hotel looked like from the pictures, so in the end, we could find the right address.
At the time, the weather was really storming, and I was wondering whether the buildings could take that storm that also made difficult to walk.
The owner of the hotel came to greet us; she was a very kind looking middle-aged lady.
“My goodness, thank God you managed to reach the place; I was so worried,” she said letting us in.
“Thank you; is there a hurricane approaching?” I asked
“No, it has been like that for days, and much probably it will continue for at least another three days, according to the forecast,” she replied. “But let me prepare you something warm, would you like a cup of tea? I will prepare it as you settle into your room.”
“That is so kind of you,” I replied, speechless about the kind reception we just had. It was just like going to visit an old friend.
During the night, the wind grew up in intensity, but since, obviously, the building was not going to be wiped away, we fell asleep.
The morning after, the greatest weather welcomed us to a new day, although, the wind didn’t seem to be satisfied with the rage it discharged the previous day. 
However, the worst of all was downtown, as even a simple task as walking was challenging, so the wind was strong.

The first day was a bit of getting to know the city and the people around, and we found ourselves having a good beer in a bar on the long street:

After one entire day spent walking around, we suddenly noticed one thing, most of the customers of the bars and restaurants were white people and very few were black customers. However, taxi drivers, street cleaners, servants at the restaurants; they were all black, if we exclude kids who were paying their education by working in a pizzeria.
Looking at the sea, in the direction of the Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of imprisonment during the years of the apartheid, I thought that his job wasn’t quite done yet. For sure the black population had conquered the same rights as the white population, but is it really so, or is it only on the paper? According to the statistics, white people, which are just the 9% of the whole population in South Africa hold the 70% of the land, the rest is distributed to the black middle class, and too many people are still living in the slums.
I didn’t have the right time to ask the right person or to get a deeper insight of the real situation, but at least the appearances gave me the impression of a job that needs to be yet accomplished. For this reason, I decided not to go and visit the Robben Island. I will be back and visit it when all the people have the same opportunities regardless the colour of their skin, I thought.
Human rights aside, Cape Town looks like a perfect place where to live, even if the presence of the high gates around every house made me wonder about the criminality rate. Is it just a question of paranoia or those fences are there for a very good reason? I thought.
I asked our landlady about it, and it seemed as she didn’t want to go into detail. She assured us that, differently from all the other African Countries, in Cape Town is not so dangerous to go out after dusk. Nevertheless, she recommended to have her telephone number with us, and in the case of any sort of emergency, we were supposed to call her.
Because of the constant wind blowing, visiting one of the biggest natural attractions of Cape Town, the Table Mountain, is very rarely accessible, and the few times it is considered safe to reach the top, is also the time where hundreds of people convey there that same reason.
Therefore, we decided instead to walk on a side path that was supposed to bring us to the top within 2 hours or more, depending on the route chosen and the pace.
We didnt make it to the top, but the view was something stunning and highly recommended:

There are plenty of places, spots and attraction in Cape Town and if you want to have a full experience, be prepared to spend there at least a couple of weeks.
Of course, you cannot miss a tour that will bring you from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope via Simon’s Town, where you can see the African Penguins.
It is told that during the colonial period, reaching the southernmost part of Africa was truly challenging, due to the irregular bottom of the sea and the strong winds which brought many failures and loss of lives. The name, Cape of Good Hope was given, despite the accidents, mutinies, loss of goods and lives, as a charm; something to bring, finally, good luck and the chance to find a way to successfully reach those coasts.

Africa has many faces, many cultures, and heritages; for this reason, is a destination that I will always suggest to anyone. Being away from it, it is sad, and my heart is yearning to go back every time I leave it. Africa has a bittersweet taste and, at least for me, it is highly addictive; maybe one day will happen that I will leave and never come back. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

The long road of writing a book.

Publishing a book is a journey on a rocky path that involves several stages, from writing and pre-editing to editing, formatting, selecting ...