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South Africa: From Cape Town along the Garden Route to Swaziland and Nelspruit.
South Africa: From Cape Town along the Garden Route toSwaziland and Nelspruit.South African Experiences Cape TownSouth Africa: From Cape Town along the Garden Route to Swaziland and Nelspruit.Impressions of a trip through the beautiful South Africa.South African Experiences Cape TownGuguletu, mfethu, is a truly South African experienceArticle by Tamara TotiIf you want the real kasi (township) experience and you want to feel the spirit of true ubuntu(kind-heartedness) among South African people, then mfethu (my friend), you have to visitGuguletu…Gugs, as it is affectionately known to residents, was established in 1960 under the Apartheidlegislation, because of overcrowding in the townships of Nyanga and Langa. Guguletu, whichmeans “pride”, has since developed into a bustling community – a gem that has and stillcontinues to make its people proud.Guguletu is situated on the Cape Flats and is a mere 15km away from the city centre of CapeTown. The people who live here are Xhosa and the language spoken is isiXhosa. You can visitGugs by bus, taxi or train – although I would recommend the taxi ride. You cannot leave SouthAfrica without experiencing a taxi ride, or you might miss out on an experience that is bothcomical and exciting. Mind you I am not talking about those metered taxis…Get down to the taxi rank at the station in Cape Town’s central business district (you will knowit’s the right place when you see the white minibus taxis queued in a line under numbered andnamed signs). Here you will be greeted by the oh-so-normal sounds of the rank – soundswithout which it could never be called a taxi rank:“Manenberg, Athlone…Claremont, Wynberg…one more, one more to go…where to my darling?”Ask for the Nyanga, Guguletu taxis. Nyanga, KTC, N.y 1/108 that is. Get in the N.y 1 taxi, whichwill take you straight to the heart of Gugs: “Four four, uyaphi sisi?”(Where are you going mysister?), “Masambeni!” (Lets go!) the taxi conductor will be shouting. Once the taxi is full, doorswill close and off you go, making your way towards the N2 freeway. The driver will take a leftinto Modderfontein road, turn at the robots, pass Montana Shopping centre and before youknow it, you’re in Guguletu. 1/4
As you enter Gugs you will see young children playing and laughing in the streets. Others willbe enjoying the sun if it’s a hot day or people will just be sitting around, talking. You will alsosee little stands here and there, where some of the women make a living selling braaied meat.There are also a few fruit and vegetable stands as well as hair salons. If you are looking for atraditional outfit you’ll also find a dressmaker amongst them; and if it’s traditional healingyou’re after, there is even a healer nearby. Guguletu has sure become its own little town.Another familiar kasi ‘accessory’ is the Cressidas that weave their way in and out of traffic.“Peep, peep!” These are our cabs – or amaphela as they’re called. When you translateamaphela it means cockroach, and they were nicknamed this because of the way they move onthe road: with such ease and speed, it’s looked at by some as an art. They transport people inand around the township and it only costs you R4.00 to get where you want to go in a jiffy.The best time to visit Gugs is during the hot months of summer when everyone is jolly,energised and playful – a feeling that is contagious and makes Gugs very exciting.The first place you have to stop at is Mzoli’s – Guguletu’s most popular chill-out spot. EverySaturday and Sunday this is where people spend their afternoons, eating meat, chatting andjust lounging around. If you are a lover of red meat, then this is the place to get it fresh andsucculent. (Mzoli was originally a butchery eventually turning into a place where people couldbuy their meat and braai it.)Today the meat is braaied right in front of you and it does not take long. Tshisa Nyama (braai) isa long standing tradition of Xhosa people and is a vital part of the kasi culture. The meat isserved with mieliepap (maize meal porridge) and gravy or you can have it with bread – the realkasi way.Mzoli is structured to fit in with the kasi-lifestyle; seating is outside where you can get a view ofeveryone passing by. This way you get to interact with people while enjoying your meal.If braaied meat is not your thing, you can always pop in next door at Phunga with its Africanprint interior, where they serve real authentic Xhosa meals such as upense (tripe) withpap(porridge), steamed bread and various other meats that are loved by the Xhosa people. Ifyou are not into the food at all, then simply have some drinks, make yourself comfortable in thein- or outdoor seating area and lounge amongst the locals.These two places might give you a South African experience that is unforgettable, but if youwould really like to ‘live amongst the people’ then Liziwe’s Guest House is another option foryou. Liziwe’s Guest House offers a choice of four bedrooms, each proudly decorated with asimple and tasteful touch of African decor and fitted with satellite television and en-suitebathrooms. Liziwe also offers a self-catering cottage.An exciting occurrence that usually happens in Gugs around December is the boys going intoinitiation – a really important part of the Xhosa culture. When they reach the age of eighteen allXhosa boys have to go for initiation. During this time, the boys stay in the bush for three to fourweeks. The ceremony starts on the Friday with the men singing, slaughtering sheep and the 2/4
women cooking. Accompanied by the older men, the boys prepare themselves to leave for theirmakeshift home, the very next morning.When they return from the bush a big ceremony called umphumo is held. Traditional beer ismade, sheep are slaughtered and the boys are welcomed back by people singing and givingpraise to the ancestors for bringing them back safely. The celebration carries on until Sundaywhen they umgidi – showering the parents of the initiates with gifts of money and alcohol. Againmeat is served and beer is drunk and the incredible kindness of ubuntu is displayed: people ofGugs coming together and helping each other where they can.A visit to Guguletu will give you a taste of an authentic kasi – an experience you will neverforget, and once you’ve experienced Gugs and its talkative, friendly inhabitants you won’t wantto leave.Here you will not simply witness it – you will feel the spirit of ubuntu. But don’t take my word forit – come and experience it yourself…About the AuthorFor tailor-made travel advice to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban or the Garden Route useCityGuideSA.com!Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelineswhereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.South African Experiences Cape Town question by avachicago: If u had the chance tovolunteer in Cape Town, South Africa or Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, which one would u pick?And why? Do you think Cape Town is westernized/Americanized? I am looking to volunteer thissummer with anyone affected by HIV, particularly children and found a wonderful program. I justcan’t decide between Cape town or Kilimanjaro, because I want a real African experience anddon’t know much about either. I would love to hear from anyone who has first hand informationabout either/thoughts/opinions. ThanksAnd why? Do you think Cape Town is westernized/Americanized? I am looking to volunteer thissummer with anyone affected by HIV, particularly children and found a wonderful program. I justcan’t decide between Cape town or Kilimanjaro, because I want a real African experience anddon’t know much about either. I would love to hear from anyone who has first hand informationabout either/thoughts/opinions. ThanksI am going with Cross Cultural Solutions http://www.crossculturalsolutions.orgI need to know why you think the city you answer with?!?!Also please keep in mind, I am not going for a vacation, I am going for the sole reason ofhelping others, and I want a fulfilling experience.South African Experiences Cape Town best answer: 3/4
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