Visit to Cape Town South Africa

Early March, I set off on a business trip to Cape Town. My first trip to South Africa – continent of my far-distant ancestors. Cape Town is a stunning city, set near the southern tip of the African continent, it has beautiful beaches and a truly amazing back drop – Table Mountain. I was there to host my customer at my company’s annual global business partner conference.

Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

Boat at the Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

 Houses in Malay section Cape Town South Africa

Brightly coloured houses

City Street, Cape Town (Can you see the hot pink house on the hill?)

How, you may ask, with all my costs paid, a beautiful hotel, activities and site seeing provided, could I not have a good time?

Well, I guess embarrassingly, I sort of did have a good time. Mostly. But I was disturbed by the stark contrast between my luxury accommodation, food & pampering and the local people’s living conditions. Here we were, spending what I can only assume was several hundred thousand dollars on “business”, and there were hundreds of thousands living in shanty towns. I wouldn’t even call them houses – more like tin sheds. These “homes” butted up to the freeway and ran back to the horizon. And there was kilometer after kilometer of them – running right through to the horizon. Children were playing soccer on the side of the freeway. I felt sick when I saw how these people lived, especially when compared to our situation whilst in town.

Our guided tour of Cape Town took us through some of the more exclusive “white” areas of town, where, we were told, houses cost around 65 million Rand! And then 10 km from the city, people lived in utter poverty.

I still shake my head at this, and am ashamed to be part of it all. I have had many comments from friend and colleagues as I lamented over the experience – “at least you were helping the locals by bringing tourist money in”. Phah. The bulk of the money we brought in was earnt by the wealthy hotel owners and restauranteurs. The “locals” work for low wages and hover around seeking tips from the tourists… not the most soul fulfilling situation for them. Or they work at the markets selling mass produced trinkets to the tourists, likely produced by exploited folk living in the sheds or regional areas.

In mythology, Mammon came to earth and was caught up in the pursuit of wealth and money.  He was demonised in the middle ages as the representation of greed, richness and injustice. In fact, as you look around the world, we are continually enslaved by our culture into the desire of money and things which ties us to the capitalistic corporations who better the world – so we can all buy more stuff, have more money and have more things. The governments and leaders create false demons so they can focus the general populous on fear and control the masses.

And, if you ever doubt that governments continually employ tactics to control the masses and drive their own agendas – take a look at this quote from Hermann Goerings during the Nuremberg trials after WWII.

“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. …Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Think about this in relation to our situation in Australia. And the US!

Terrorism.

Our new (well actually not so new now) enemy.

Now I have digressed a little from my SA trip story – but I guess that’s what happens when you pissed off about the state of the world and the pathetic leadership from the Mammon affected goverements.

So I’m angry, and what I am going to do about it? What can I do? Well that might the subject of another entry…. once I figure out the answer. 😉

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4 responses to “Visit to Cape Town South Africa

  • Ric Crawley

    Hello Kylie

    I was just in South Africa in June and July and I couldn’t agree with yo more it was heart wrenching to see the conditions the blacks lived in.
    My wife and I spend sometime in the townships talking and filming.
    We also spent some time in Stellenbosch the wine country and I know I pissed alot of people voicing my opinions on how black and the so called (coloreds) were treated.

  • Brett Williams

    Quite a few of those expensive white houses mentioned are owned by overseas families. The head of Mercedes Benz int. owned what used to be the most expensive house in Cape Town which he apparently used a month out of a year. The state of many black and coloured people in South Africa is dire, however, thankfully, there is a rising black middle class. Unfortunately the promises of the government have not come to fruition especially noticeable in the health sector. The current president believes that AIDS and HIV are not linked and this is compounded when the , now ex, vice president allegedly raped an HIV+ AIDS activist without using a condom but then said it was ok as he had a shower afterwards. He has incrededible support and may yet be jailed for fraud and corruption, yet his supporters say they will vote for him even if he is wearing a jail jumpsuit. They have threatened violence if he doesnt win in the next election. Many black people are not of South African descent and have coe to the city as refugees. You may have seen them as car guards, mostly from Congo and Nigeria and neighbouring countries. Its difficult to see the whole picture with a short visit and the old version of South Africa can come in to play-Black versus White. No doubt there is still underlying racism. The social problems inherent with the decades of apartheid are too numerous to mention but there is still so much to draw one to Cape Towns soul.

  • Brett Williams

    I forgot to mention that those refugees who you may see as car guards etc are usually well educated, more educated than myself. When I lived there I spoke with many of them and was shocked that so many were lawyers or doctors etc. unfortunately they cant work in their professions which are so needed in South Africa. Its so sad to see the most beautiful place ive ever lived and seen become so crazy. now i get to be the tourist once a year.

  • SoZa!

    Cape Town
    is truly a beautiful city and yes we do have problems. But despite it all it is a city where our striking contrasts somehow bring us together.

    It is such a pity that skill shortages are such a problem while there is such a abundance literally on our doorstep. To top it all off many young educated South Africans leave for the allure of more money abroad. However in my experience the people of cape town have an underlying unity and more and more we see it crossing futile racial and class borders. I was at a sundown concert in kirstenbosch on sunday for the first time in 4 years, and i can tell you change (good change) is evident.

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