How do you sum up a fun-filled, action-packed three days in Cape Town? Not very easily is the answer. So, I will do this in shorthand:
- Catching up with friends – wonderful, fun, boozy.
- Spending Time at the V&A Waterfront – chilled, First World, great food.
- Visiting the new Zeitz MOCA Gallery – amazing architecture, superb staging, variable artwork.
- Catching a steam train into the winelands – atmospheric, rattling, relaxing.
- Meeting Nelson Mandela’s private secretary – enlightening, inspiring, hopeful.
- Having lunch in a winery – gluttony, excellent wines, fantastic entertainment.
- Visiting Robben Island – humbling, slightly depressing, moving.
Over the last few days we’ve heard a lot about the apartheid regime and had a chance to ponder South Africa’s future. A couple of things struck me – firstly, everyone concentrates on about what a magnificent man that Nelson Mandela was, in that he could forgive after so many years in prison. This is undoubtedly true – with his grace, intelligence and humility he was a man in a billion. But, we forget about all the other political prisoners who also put their feelings of bitterness aside to help create a new South Africa. Our excellent guide at Robben Island, Kgotoso ‘Glen’ Ntsoelengoe reminded us that in that respect, Nelson Mandela wasn’t that different to him or the others.
Secondly, I was struck how Mandela and his comrades weren’t just fighting for the freedom of black South Africans. To some extent, the whites needed to be liberated from Apartheid too. They too were living an undemocratic police state, where censorship was rife, propaganda was constant, and where the government controlled who you could associate with and where you could live.
South Africa has come a long way since then, but I wonder how long the shadow of apartheid will continue to affect this beautiful country?