Day 199-Historical Sites in Cape Town

Cape Town

What an educational day! If you want to learn more about the history of South Africa, Cape Town, and Apartheid, here are a few places to visit:

Bo-Kaap: Also referred to as the Cape Malay Quarter, the colorful houses of Bo-Kaap represent a multicultural area that is rich in history and diversity. This historic area became home for early Muslim settlers, as well as freed slaves after the abolition of slavery. The first Muslim Mosque in South Africa was also built here in 1844. Be sure to check out the Bo-Kaap Museum and try some traditional Cape Malay cuisine while in the area!

Slave Lodge:  A must visit if you want to gain a deeper understanding of slavery in South Africa and on a global scale. The Slave Lodge museum is located where the slaves were actually kept and is also one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. The exhibitions were visually and emotionally stimulating, a fine balance between a museum and a historical site. Walking through each section was like taking a historical journey through the history of slavery. As human right issues are portrayed and addressed, emotions were evoked to gain insight on the living conditions of those kept at the Slave Lodge.

District Six Museum: District Six is a former inner-city residential area where over 60,000 residents were forcefully removed during Apartheid. Once a lively community made up of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, immigrants, and other diverse groups, the government claimed District Six as a dangerous and high crime slum, which was in need of separation of interracial interaction. However, the residents believed that the government was solely after the prime location of the land. Home were bulldozed, residents were removed, and District Six was declared a white-only area. The museum now holds memories of those residents who went through this experience as they contribute to the artifacts you see in the exhibitions.

Cape Town City Hall: Although not the first city hall to be built in Cape Town, the large Victorian-style building on the Grand Parade holds a lot of history. With limestone imported from Bath, England, the building was built in 1905 as a result of a public competition. Since the winning architects originated from England, most of the materials were actually imported from Europe. The main balcony facing the Grand Parade was where Nelson Mandela made his first public speech after being released from prison. Although City Hall no longer house the offices of the City of Cape Town, it is a great venue for art and cultural events. It just so happens that Queen Elizabeth ll celebrated her 21st birthday here!

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”

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