Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Cape Town, South Africa

Tired and jet-lagged after the long flight from the USA we stay awake by taking the cable car to Table Mountain.  Walking around the area one can see most of Cape Town and it is a beautiful view.  The tourist books compare Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro.  Well IMHO Cape Town is beautiful to look at from Table Mountain but for me the view from Pão de Açúca (Sugarloaf) or Corcovado (Cristo Redentor) is a far prettier sight.  No comparison!
The magnificent view of a portion of Cape Town from atop the mountain.  Look at the white sandy beach it is truly inviting.
The distinctive street art is colorful.  I did not buy any and now wish that I had.
Nelson Mandela was held prisoner on Robben Island for twenty-seven years, that is 27 years!  I could not visit Cape Town without a visit here, it was almost a pilgrimage.  I had lived through this time in the nightly news and read his book.  I needed to go and see where he had been held a prisoner.
The cell was so small and Mr Mandela is a tall man (6' 4"/1m93).  After seeing this cell that he spent 27 years in he stands taller in my eyes.
Mr Mandela's garden where he buried his diary as he was writing it.  The diary later became his book, Long Walk To Freedom.
The prisoners worked in the hot sun, all day, every day, breaking rocks in this quarry.  I was in tears when I left Robben Island and I was only there for a short time, a tourist visit.
There are a few streets with colorful old colonial homes like these, they brighten up the district that they are in.
We go to an Eastern Cape district and see a performance by Zolani African singers and dancers.  They were wonderful.
The dancers were happy, colorful and the music very moving, rhythmic, foot tapping, it encouraged active participation and some of our group did go up on stage.
A reminder of the BAD times of Apartheid.  If the whites wanted the land that the blacks lived on they would simply rezone the area making it illegal for the blacks to be in the District and then they would forcefully move the blacks out.

Tomorrow I will post the interior South Africa - Garry and I went on a driving vacation out of Cape Town.

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