I was born in Durban in a place called uMlazi and moved to Cape Town when I was 5 years old. I call myself a Capetonian. I can not really remember living anywhere else other than Cape Town. Everything that I am is in some way moulded by the people I see and come across in this small, but big, quiet, but busy, rich, but really poor, friendly but super cliquey city.
I love Cape Town, we have the sea and the mountain and Robben island and seal island and boulders and hipsters and shacks and braais and melktert and Mzolis and so many Waldorf schools. Its awesome. So awesome that sometimes we forget to think about who we are as people. What we do for each other as people.
I stay in Lakeside in the southern peninsular. I see white people in cars, white store managers. I see coloured and black people working as waiters and waitresses and tellers. I meet white people in Muizenberg who don’t even know that black people ‘can’ speak like me (I have been told that I speak like a white person. I speak like a person who speaks English as a first language!) I meet black people who are priests and doctors but work as car guards. It is all still so one-sided. We know this.
Where do you stay? What do you see? Not many of us proud Capetonians really allow ourselves to see what our city really looks like. I was lucky enough to take a day trip yesterday with my white lover up the West Coast. We ended up in Blouberg as the sun began to set. We walked from Melkbosstrand to Blouberg. I counted (because these days it is still something of a surprise) 6 mixed race couples, 4 visibly adopted children, handfuls of mixed groups of friends, coloured, black, white, Indian, Chinese. My lover and I felt like we were in some kind of South African Wonderland where everything was as we wished it to be. We sat down in Moyo where there were two managers, a white man and a black woman. To our left were a white afrikaans family, to our right were a coloured english speaking couple, at the surfboard tables were a black, clearly South African couple. It felt like a human safari.
I was so thrilled. I felt proud, I felt fuelled, I felt safe and celebrated. All of these things I seldom feel in the CBD or in Lakeside. I realise that maybe we were there on a good day, Easter Monday, and I accept that maybe the further away from the sea and sun and sites you move, the less integrated and tolerant it may become, but for what it’s worth, Blouberg you are impressive. Way more impressive than Cape Town. Capetonians take note, Blouberg is doing it right. Bars and restaurants and clubs and cafés expensive and cheap, classy and cultural all on one long strip of beautiful beach. Everyone enjoying the sights together.
I want to look into the faces that create our rainbow wherever I go. I want to know that I am not some kind of educated, well spoken spectacle. I want to trust that I can hold the hand of my lover and not be talked about.
Cape Town, if Blouberg beach can do it, we can do it.
I want to be proud. I want to celebrate this place with you.
Don’t you want that too?