Tuesday, December 29, 2015

South Africa in 2 Weeks, week 2

(Sunset on top of Table Mountain)
(View of downtown with Robben Island in the distance from the top of Table Mountain)
I promised to talk a bit about Apartheid, a story many of us are aware of but never looked at more closely.
It started with our talk with the owner of Mzansi restaurant - Nomonde, as earlier discussed, about her take on Apartheid, which she lived through, as she brought food to her brother in jail.
(The Funicular up saves several hours of climbing to the top)

(The "Tablecloth" covering the mountain)

He was arrested during the 1976 student demonstrations as a result of a new government decision, requiring high school students to also learn Afrikaans as well as English. She met there his friend now her husband.

(Museum about apartheid and slavery)
(Above and below typical buildings showing the cities age and former grandeur)

Nomonde said that her present quest was to improve the lives of her neighbors using her success story in transforming her street into more small businesses, hoping in that way to attract more tourists to her black neighborhood. Because despite ending Apartheid, poverty among the black population highlights a vast income divide between the races.


(They are everywhere!)
(Pictures of Cape of Good Hope a few hours driving southwards)
(These flowers are dry - you could have them forever in your livingroom)

(Ivor at work)

Then at the last day of our stay in Capetown we hired a guide, Ivor, a retired GP, who as a white teenager lived through Apartheid, which lasted from 1948 till 1994. Ivor considers the government of those days a bunch of all-powerful criminals, as they continued issuing laws to keep the forced separation between whites and blacks alive.

(Side trip to Stellenbosch center of Boer culture)
(Could not resist to take this wry picture in Boer Territory)
(Stellenbosch again, this was the munitions depot)

Thus we had two anti-apartheid people telling their stories. Ivor told us that especially prime minister Forster, who had like many Afrikaners, Nazi sympathies, really found the tools for Apartheid, when visiting Alabama and seeing how southerners did implement segregation "effectively".

(Coastal pictures around Capetown)

Ivor and many of his generation left South Africa as they saw no future there. He however did return, although many never did. White South Africans being a 1 to 20 ratio minority were trying to keep their lifestyle.

(Bokaap a literally colorful neighborhood of old "Dutch" times)

And to do that, the black population had registration cards, lived in separate areas, got only enough education to enable them to do manual work, no vote, curfew hours in white areas and the sex police could monitor your bedroom to make sure you did not have "relations" (nice description Bill) with another color human species.

(The center of Capetown shows different building styles and a touristy market)
(I liked this Wired Mandela statue)
(Pictures while wandering the Company Gardens)

But even in South Africa, far away from the rest of the criticizing world, this could not last and the "most friendly police state" as prime minister Forster used to quip, collapsed with Mandela introducing a black government in 1994.

(Our "home" in Franschhoek)
(Found Jacaranda's in the vineyards around Franschhoek)

We found Capetown, the mother city as it is called, "because everything here happens in 9 months", a windy but very nice and very affordable city. And yes service was slow but attentive, wines were absolutely great and very nicely priced. All types of cuisines can be found and the iconic Table Mountain towers over the city, making it as recognizable as Sydney with its Opera house.

(Franschhoek scenery while visiting wineries)

Hermanus with below a baptism being conducted)

But let's go chronological: after Mosselbaai we arrived at our rented home "the Honeypot" in Franschhoek, south Africa's culinary capital, smack in the middle of wine country.

We stayed here 4 nights and visited several wineries by Tram, a tourist service to many wineries in the valley. We celebrated Herman, our brother in law's birthday in Hermanus a whale watching town with an ocean side lunch, and sampled a top restaurant in Franschhoek (the name originates from Huguenots who settled here after being driven out of France)

Returning to Capetown we took the funicular up to the Table Mountain, drove to the Cape of Good Hope and visited World of Birds a sanctuary for discarded or disabled birds, and had a great tour through the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens with a very talkative guide.

(Pictures of our visit to Kirstenbosch)

All in all I will have the pictures tell the story again.

(Did I tell you we had High Tea at Lord Nelson Hotel - very fancy)
(There are Penguins in the Capetown area - they are smaller than their Antartic cousins)


(Amazing trees from before the Boers arrived)
(Below Kirstenbosch flora)





(The above word "centenarian" to be taken literally)

(World of Birds pictures to round out the blog)