14 AND 15 PICTURE ALBUM
Monday, June 14 and Tuesday, June 15
Paula: Heavy rain on Monday gave us an opportunity to
read and complete the planning necessary for the rest of our stay in South
Africa. An unexpectedly pleasant afternoon allowed us to explore the waterfront
area. Much of our time was spent making reservations for Kruger National Park
and other travel arrangements up until our departure on July 2.
The Victorian & Albert Waterfront is nicely developed and has lovely
shops, restaurants, an aquarium, museum and theaters. We enjoyed the
signpost indicating the distance to Boston and the kids teasingly set off
in the direction of home. Seals follow boats in the harbor and a landing area
has been set aside for them to gather.
On Tuesday we walked through the city's center in the morning, stopping to
see the old city hall and the Good Hope Castle, the oldest structure in Cape
Town.. We found the Greenmarket Square bustling with vendors and made several
purchases. David and Katie
purchased their usual key chain and charm (they buy one from each country
that we visit) while Steve negotiated for African Zulu masks.
The highlight of the morning was our visit to the District VI Museum. This
small museum was established for the former residents of District VI. This
area of Cape Town was leveled by bulldozers during the apartheid period. The
government found the cosmopolitan neighborhoods here threatening, and wanted
all land in the city center reserved for white residents. Noor, our guide
in the museum, had lived in District VI during this time and was forced to
relocate to a "colored" district. He told us that his father cried
when the family's home was demolished and that he had a friend whose family
was relocated to different areas
because he was colored and his wife was black. The museum contains pictures
of the old neighborhoods and a large map allows people to sign their names
on the spots of their their former homesteads. Noor told us that some of the
original residents of the district, with the help of the government, moved
back into the area just last week. We were all touch by the museum and especially
this man's personal story.
spent the afternoon touring Robben Island. The island is seven miles from
Cape Town Harbor. While the island has been used as a naval base and isolated
area for leper colonies in the past, it is mostly known for the prison that
held political prisoners during the apartheid years.
During our tour of the prison, we were able to learn about life in the facility
and view the living quarters and quarries where the men were forced to do
hard labor. Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of prison here and we
walked by the cell he occupied during most
of his time on Robben Island. Our guide was an ex-political prisoner himself,
had spent five years here from 1984-1989. He explained what life was like
as well as how the prisoners were gradually able to improve their conditions
mainly through a series of hunger strikes.
The Robben Island experience and visit to the District VI Museum today gave
us an opportunity to learn about apartheid rule and the amazing spirit of
the people who sought freedom and democracy. We were left with the impression
that the people here are thankful for their new rights and hopeful about their
future. Their appreciation for democracy and all that it offers was refreshing.
view of Cape Town from the island was quite nice and we watched large waves
crash into the shoreline. We were surprised to find the island alive with
wildlife. We saw a small antelope called a springbuck and hundreds of African
Penguins. The penguins were everywhere, nesting
in low bushes, crossing the roads and wobbling along the beach. We had fun
observing them up close as they seemed totally unconcerned by our presence.
returned to the waterfront by early evening and enjoyed another wonderful
seafood dinner before heading back to watch European World Cup Soccer on television.
Soccer is replacing our appetite for spectator sports at least for a few more
Tomorrow we are hoping for a sunny day to explore the peninsula and have
been invited for dinner with another friend of a friend.