Inspiringly, modern-day Cape Town refuses to be defined by wrongs of the past, but instead embraces them as a life lesson, not a life sentence. Today, you’ll journey back to a world where every individual and every action was classified by race. A world of clear black and white rules, where mixed marriages were prohibited; travel restricted; work roles defined; and, where a single piece of legislation – The Group Areas Act – forced division solely based on the colour of your skin. Today, you’ll journey back to the time where individuals were classified purely by the colour of their skin. Tour District Six Museum with a former resident to relive memories that epitomise the brutality of apartheid. Travel to Gugulethu township, not to sight-see, but mingle with locals, exchange cultural values and learn about the struggle. Enjoy the afternoon at V&A Waterfront or opt to tour Robben Island, a Unesco World Heritage memorial to political prisoners to celebrate Mandela’s dream of an Africa at peace with itself.
-Early morning pick-up from your accommodation in Cape Town CBD or Stellenbosch.
DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM TOUR
Today’s journey into the dark apartheid past starts with a morning pick-up from your Cape Town accommodation to the District Six Museum to listen to ex-residents tales of enforced removals and their homes leveled to make way for ‘whites-only’ suburbs.
Back in apartheid times, Table Mountain provided a natural border between black and white settlements and even if there’s no physical border in place today, the harsh reality of previously disadvantaged communities still shows. After a short drive to the Cape Flats, you’ll visit the township of Gugulethu for a glimpse into these infamous “dump grounds for non-whites”. In contrast to the city’s wide, clean streets and white-washed historic buildings, backstreets crammed with corrugated-roofed, shanty-style accommodation and colourful clotheslines await. A local guide navigates the streets with ease walking past small taverns called shebeens, a Spaza convenience store, health clinic and inspiring community garden project to provide a glimpse into everyday life. Here, fellowship is at the heart of everything and the noisy streets are filled with song and soul. But, this township has also endured its fair share of bloodshed in the name of freedom and a visit to the Amy Biehl memorial and the Gugulethu 7 monument reinforces just how violent the struggle was.
V&A WATERFRONT or ROBBEN ISLAND TOUR
Then we make our way back to the heart of Cape Town’s working waterfront for a lunch stop or tour to Robben Island (optional with extra cost). Meander through fascinating museums, historical sights and tourist attractions of the V&A Waterfront for the afternoon. Or, subject to weather conditions and availability (Robben Island must be pre-booked), opt to board the ferry for a scenic cruise across the bay and a glimpse into the life of political prisoners in the most austere of South African prisons. World Heritage-listed Robben Island is striking in it’s very isolation. It was used as a prison for rebel sailors and much later for political prisoners, the last of whom were released in 1991. Today, this site employs former inmates, who weave poignant tales of their time behind bars and of hard labour in the prison’s limestone quarry. They bear no grudges thanks to inspirational leaders, like Nelson Mandela, who taught them about reconciliation and the spirit of Ubuntu. Indeed a unique symbol to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and injustice. This excursion includes a return ferry to the island, a bus tour of the island and prison. The ferry ride back to the mainland is generally a subdued affair and the view of Table Mountain welcomes you back at the waterfront.
Then it’s just a quick hop to your accommodation, ending this day of reflection, having a better understanding of the struggle toward a united South Africa. It can be hard to come face-to-face with an unjust past, but it’s essential to grasp this journey in order to understand the South Africa of today.
Reach your hotel by ± 5pm.