THE BEST THING ABOUT CAPE TOWN IS… | Sharon Henry
Cape Town is home to a diverse mix of 3.74 million people and together with the stunning scenery, amazing wildlife and remarkable history it oozes culture with plenty of attitude.
Strolling along the beach at Sea Point and maneuvering through the bustle of Long Street we spoke to a few of these souls, the Cape Town people, who give the city its hip and stylish vibe. We’ve found street conversation is always the best way to truly learn about a place. So here’s the word on the street from Cape Town, in our ‘Time-Lapse’ style, people stories in their own words.
George – Tin & wire artist selling craft-work on Sea Point promenade
“I’ve been doing this for four months now. A friend of mine taught me a few things, like how to cover up the wire, then from there I started these sculptures in shells. There’s one I’ve done where the person is standing and surfing, these ones here are canoeing with a paddle, parachuting; sometimes I make them in a set. I sell them for 200 Rand and I’ve sold quite a few to visitors.
“I don’t have an artist background but back home, I used to make wire toys, so I think it’s there I got the skills from. Home for me is Zimbabwe. I’ve been in Cape Town on and off for about six years now. I always go back every now and then if I make a bit of money to see my family, then I come back.
“The best thing about Cape Town is you meet different kinds of people, it’s a friendly kind of place.”
Iman (Marketing) and Afrah (student) – Cape Town people enjoying take-out lunch at Sea Point
Iman: “I used to live in Cape Town but now I live in Jo’burg and I’ve just come back on holiday for the long weekend. I would recommend anybody visiting Cape Town to explore the restaurant scene. It’s definitely the best in the country, one of the best in the world I think. It’s super exciting. Every time I come back there are always a dozen new places that’s opened, it’s amazing. I went to ‘Thali‘ last night which is Indian tapas in Gardens and it was an incredible experience.
“If I could go anywhere in the world where would I go? I am keen to discover more of South America, somewhere like Columbia. I’ve been to Argentina and a bit of Uruguay. I found the cultures really interesting, there are a lot of very unique experiences and unique countries in one continent, I find that quite exciting. I like the music, the landscapes and I find it really interesting to explore.”
Afrah: “I’m studying at UCT (University of Cape Town). This is my second year living in Cape Town, I’m from Jo’burg. How does it compare? Being a student here is nice; the student vibe is really good. There are a lot of students here, so it’s just easier, everything’s close together, the university area has lots of restaurants, it’s cheap and there’s a lot more to do here as a student.
“I definitely recommend the restaurant scene as well but if you’re here in summer the beaches obviously are amazing. Another restaurant to go to, we just went, is ‘Hokey Poke‘, that’s Hawaiian poke balls. So you can build your own poké dishes with raw fish, sticky rice and everything. It’s very yummy.
“I would choose to go to Tokyo. Japanese culture is one I don’t know much about at all, so I’d love to get to know more about Japan. I think that young people in Tokyo in terms of fashion, because I’m really interested in fashion, are very forward thinking and they have taken on a new look of fashion – which is quite cool.”
Thandeka (22) – Landscape technology student, Cape Peninsular University of Technology, working in Company Gardens, Cape Town
“I’m working my in-service practical training for the course that I’m doing in landscape technology. So here in this garden we basically maintain it, keep it alive and do planting. There are a lot of options when I finish the course, I can also go overseas and pursue my career or go to Pretoria. Here in Cape Town there aren’t many [options] as other places.
“I chose this because I like the big outdoors, I like designing and planting. My ultimate project would be overseas, the landscapes are very beautiful and it inspires me. My favourite tree is the gingko tree. I like it because it is deciduous and how it changes, before the leaves fall they turn yellow and it has a grey trunk. That grey and yellow is very beautiful when it’s like that.
“Cape Town is very beautiful; I would recommend visitors go to Signal Hill to see the city from a higher perspective. Going at night is very beautiful. If you are outdoorsy and like adventure there is also Ratanga Junction and for history Robben Island.
“If I could change one thing about Cape Town? I don’t how but I’d try to change people’s perspective on life. Especially the younger generations because they are all about having fun and not focussing on their future or career. So if I would be able to change the way of thinking, making them get their inner being, what they really want to do, and boosting them, there probably will be a change.
“And I’d change the system basically here in Cape Town, because it is very corrupt. That’s life.”
Tabisile – Parking attendant, Lower Long Street, Cape Town
”We give space for car parking and take payments. I’ve been doing this for two and half years now. It’s very interesting because we get commission and our boss pays us nicely. He is a good boss.
“Do I get any trouble or aggravation? Sometimes people give us problems because sometimes they are stubborn, they don’t want to pay for parking. The parking is expensive so sometimes we do get rude customers.
“I’ve lived in Cape Town for four years now but I’m from Umtata, Eastern Cape. Cape Town has got so many nice places for visitors to see like castles, museums, Green Market Square to see the things made by the people.
“There is a lot of security so tourists are safe most of the time.
“I have never travelled outside of South Africa; if I could I would like to go to America, just to make more friends and to see their country.”
Tshepo – Videographer and artist, Long Street, Cape Town
“I’m originally from the Free State, located in the heart of South Africa. Known for farming, cattle farming and all that. I came to Cape Town about four and half years ago initially to study business management, which I did for a bit but quickly came into the real life of working and discovering what I really want to do in the world. I was a member of a non-profit youth organisation in a township called Langa. That’s how I gained experience of working. We did a lot of activities like shooting short films, organising cook-outs for the community, it really prepared me for other work. At school I did commercial subjects like business studies, economics, and accounting. It really contributed to a lot of knowledge I now find very useful.
“I was inspired by film-making when I was working for the non-profit organisation because there was a gentleman who came in from the film industry to teach us a few skills. So we ended up doing short films. I saw how films were made and as a writer, I am a writer and a poet, I really found it interesting that visuals can tell impactful stories. I fell in love with film.
“I applied for a scholarship to study film with Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking and got the opportunity a year later.
“I’m into movies and initially I wanted to do feature films. Then I discovered documentary style of film. It’s different but what I like about it is, it’s more in touch with the real-life stories that we see out here on Long Street, Cape Town, anywhere.”
“There is a lot of great things about Cape Town. For me I find the city very refreshing, the atmosphere here, you can breathe here. I was in Johannesburg for six months but I couldn’t stay there, it’s so saturated, there are a lot of people, it’s busy. Not to say anything negative about Johannesburg but I wanted to come back to Cape Town to smell that fresh air! It’s the mountains, the people… For a person who is coming from outside of South Africa you want to go see the ‘realness’ of how people are living. That’s in the townships to be honest.
“I don’t like to jinx anything but ultimately with my film-making I’d like to start up a film company.
“What’s one thing about me that a lot of people don’t know? I love cooking. I secretly try something different every now and again. Most of the time even though it’s so clear in my mind – I end up messing it up! But I love cooking and I just want to get it accurate and right.”