South African Diary – a week in Cape Town

This week I decided to go back to the original language of this blog, English. I have been thinking about switching back for a while, and right now I feel like it’s the best solution – I live abroad and most of my friends are international and don’t speak or read Italian. I hope that the Italian readers of Chasing Hygge will bear with me despite the language switch!

I have exciting news – I just came back for a week in Cape Town, South Africa. I have organized a workshop at a really cool seminar, so I had relatively little time to explore my surroundings….but here are some of the photos I took of this truly amazing African city.

I went to Cape Town knowing very little about South Africa and about the city, I didn’t bring any travel guide. The only knowledge I had was from a really cool documentary shot by my friend Diana Manfredi, District Six, the story of a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Cape Town whose residents were forcibly removed during the apartheid. I went to District Six (below) and I really loved the District Six museumI enjoyed hearing the stories of a former resident, now 80 years old, who was my guide at the museum.

He told us how, at the beginning of the apartheid regime, signs on benches usually read “Europeans Only”. But, when the White Americans and Canadians and Australians came to visit, such sign would formally prohibit them to sit with the other “Europeans”. This is when all the signs were switched to “White Only” or “For Use by White Persons”.

During the seminar I met several activists from South Africa, and I learned a lot of interesting things about the place, the current struggles and about the socio-political situation. I also met a lot of really cool people working at NGOs and grassroots organizations all over Africa, but I will talk about it in another post. One of the ladies who made the strongest impression on me is pictured in the photo below, her name is Glanis and she works for the Institute of Young Women Development in Zimbabwe.

It was a great experience and – despite time constraints – I managed to do some shopping, only books! I went to the excellent Clarke’s Bookstore, on 199 Long Street, and I got some Capetonian literature: Zoë Wicomb, Imraan Coovadia, Meg Vandermerwe and the new magazine of writing Prufrock (lovely, check out their website).

I can recommend at least two restaurants in Cape Town: one is the Ethiopian restaurant at the Pan African building on Long Street (cheap and de-li-cious), the other one is the fancy (but cheap) European inspired cafè Jason, on Bree Street: one of the best burgers I have ever had. Both places are on pretty interesting roads – Long Street is more touristic and there are tons of shops and vintage stores, Bree Street is hip and you can find many design and interior decoration shops (like the really cute Skinny laMinx).

I hope to go back soon and hike on Table Mountain, apparently that is a must. Oh well, next time!

See you very soon :)


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