Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cape Town

President's House Cape Town

Some of my pics and captions to give you a feel for Cape Town.
CT's gotta be one of the prettiest cities in the world. And maybe one of the most interesting too.

Was surprisingly in town during the third national elections since the end of apartheid.

Pretty encouraging.

The African National Congress (ANC) did a remarkable job navigating the country through its dramatic reformation.

But sometimes political reformers and revolutionaries struggle with more common challenges. Lots of people in SA are beginning to buck the ANC over a perceived lack of delivery of basic services. Fixing pots holes and delivering toilets and adequate housing can be every bit as difficult as overthrowing a cartoonishly immoral regime. The 'colored' population apparently gets the short end of the stick from both blacks and whites (I got the election poster above from a 'colored' Muslim neighborhood).

After the votes were counted the ANC lost political control of Cape Town.

I think that's a good sign for the country. When a wise revolutionary party can bring about change with grace and reconciliation, and then follow it up with a willingness to let others step onto the stage politically, you've got a best case scenario. Think of Mexico or the Soviet Union after their revolutions. Compare and contrast :^)

Got a chance to climb Table Mountain (that big mist covered rock in the background of the pic at the top of the post).

This is the view from the top of the Table down to Cape Town and Robben Island out in the Atlantic where Mandela spent almost 30 years as a prisoner.

A shot from boho Cape Town. The new South African constitution is the most hospitable in the world. Women and gays and others are guaranteed civil liberties they don't have anywhere else right now. Those of us from the new world are old school by comparison.

My daughter Rebecca and I had lunch here. The power went out in the middle of our meal. Load shedding and lights out on the electrical grid are pretty typical in CT as they are throughout the developing world, but this was the first time I've done my business in a pitch dark public men's room by candle light. Management had foot long scented candles ready and at hand.

A street corner in the Muslim Bo-Kaap district of CT. The only ethnic neighborhood still standing in town after the previous government bulldozed all the non-whites out of CT and sent them into appalling townships to the southeast of the city center. I'm still not sure why these folks escaped. Maybe some savvy market-oriented Afrikaaners realized that in the future this place would draw more tourists than any other part of town. If so, they were right.

Don't get a chance to see an ostrich on the beach everyday. Lots of em along the surf near the Cape of Good Hope.

An electrified fence. Everybody outside the townships seems to have one around their home.

Rebecca just finished her research project in the slums of Cape Town and will be home next week before she heads back to Stanford for spring quarter. I got a chance to hang out with she and her buds in Africa for a couple of days. Fun bunch.

Their research and recommendations under the auspices of the University of Cape Town are intended to guide a new effort by the SA government to create serious health care opportunities in the townships. I felt proud of all of 'em.

I'm out of town and offline starting tomorrow. I'll be back steady blogging early next week.


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