Lighten up and see the fun side of Cape Town

2010-02-19 14:27

CAPE Town. It’s supposedly one of the most beautiful cities in the

world. The New York Times even says it’s a “must ­experience” city. They are


Barring the masses of settlements, Cape Town wows at ­every turn

with natural beauty complemented by gorgeous ­people with an ­incredible

appetite for leisure.

“Pity the racism,” moaned a life-long Capetonian who “cannot

believe” that the non-black population in this city thinks non-whites belong in

the nearby townships – easily accessible to the madams.

It’s this reputation that has made me afraid of Cape Town. I’m a

Gautenger who is used to ­entering previously members-only zones with my fist

raised amandla style.

In Cape Town, the social standard is race. Lacking terribly in that

department, I always tread carefully when in town.

My first visit was as a stop- over on my way to the Nederburg Wine

festival. Among the darkies I was travelling with were ­locals who had had nasty

encounters they suspected were provoked by their race.

We played it safe, going where we would be welcome: down-trodden

student joints and stuffy hang-outs aimed at the ­retired.

I then returned to the city to interview a writer.

I only got to really experience the Mother City when my best friend

moved there.

“A tall order unless you are heading to Mzoli’s,” warned a


Luckily, my friend worked for a company known to throw truckloads

of money into their entertainment and marketing budget. The supposedly racist

establishment treated us like gold.

Needless to say, I left the city feeling robbed for not having even

one racist spat thrown my way. I vowed to be back sans the protection of my

friend’s cheque book-signing powers.

It happened two weeks ago. I was scared senseless, but that proved

to be a waste of anxiety.

Cape Town is a blast. I found that wearing next to nothing works

wonders. Dress like you are heading to the beach by day and pull out a trusted

little black dress and high heels at night and viola!, you are part of the

city’s vibe even without the weave, nails and false lashes whose lack usually

mark one as a social ­outcast.

Another passport to Cape Town is overt sexuality; look at people

like you want to gobble them up on the spot and they will love you. It

compliments their beauty. This city is vain and shallow. Work it.

But it’s not just people with the morals of an alley cat who fit

here. Self-deprecating humour is key. Capetonians wear their tourist destination

badge with pride, as displayed by those ghastly tour buses with open decks.

Filled with Europeans who look disappointed that there are no lions roaming the

streets, they are a cultural whip- lash. Laugh out loud or flash the tourists,

as some locals do, and you are a member at the club.

My strategy smacks of fitting into a desperate mould, but this city

is far too gorgeous for darkies to take the racism that prevents us enjoying the

city to the fullest with anything other than a shrug. That said, I would like to

urge non-white Capetonians to not limit their socialising to Mzoli’s and Ratanga

Junction. It smacks of keeping yourselves where you think you belong. And this

should be anywhere in this beautiful country.

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