Cape Town is a special city. A Dutch colonial outpost for trade with Asia, settlers brought slaves from modern day Indonesia in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was subsequently controlled by the British bringing a wave of Indian migration. These communities mixed with the Africans indigenous to the Cape and with people of European settler ancestry. The result is a vivid mix of race, culture and religion. Of course, the brutal legacy of apartheid is an unmissable stain on this legacy and looms discernibly over the city’s neighbourhoods. Perhaps this is broadly naïve and reflective of us being in-and-out of the city as tourists, but there is a lively character to the people in the city marked by friendliness, openness and an easygoing attitude.
We had experienced this first hand literally from the minute we got on the plane to Cape Town. Seated next to us was a wonderful Cape Townian who gave us a wonderful overview of what the city has to offer and was even kind enough to take us, along with her family, to one most beautiful gardens in the city during trip. Throughout the city, we met loads of interesting people, usually drawn to us by Hayat’s overbearing cuteness 😊
One of the main highlights was visiting the small neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap. Home to the ‘Cape-Malay’ community – it’s a small Muslim community dating back to early 1800s and comprises a mix of Indonesian, Indian and other ethnic communities settled in Cape Town by European settlers. Small tightly backed houses like the streets with each house proudly painted in bright colours. Pink, light blue, bright orange – it’s almost like a pride parade-turned-neighbourhood plus loud mosques (I kid but true). The features of people in Bo-Kaap were just incredible. The imprint of cultural mixing is so clear. African, Asian, Indian, its truly a place where people of the world have sort of become one. Certainly the politics and origins of how this came about isn’t entirely pretty picture nor one without competing perspectives but fascinating nonetheless.
A must mention secondary highlight of Bo-Kaap was the food. Everything was stellar but especially over the desert. Batoul died over this Cape-Malay bread pudding, so much so that we had to go back to this same restaurant about three times over our six day stay just to get it. A little annoying for me but I survived :)
We also drove down to the Southern most tip of the African continent to check out the famous penguins that hang out at the beaches. The beach was filled with these waddling creatures. We can totally picture Hayat walking just like them one day! It was a fantastic experience, but Hayat wasn't as interested in them this time around. This city is definitely one we hope to return to someday.