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September 07, 2009

Explore Cape Town’s history and culture

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Mzoli’s in Gugulethu, photo courtesy j.knutzen

As the oldest city in South Africa, Cape Town is rich in history and culture. There is so much to see, do and learn about the city and the people who live here.

The best way to discover Cape Town is through interacting with the people. So take a tour through the townships of Gugulethu, Khayelitsha or Langa and hear what they have to say about life in Cape Town.

You can enjoy a meal and drink at Mzoli’s, a chisa nyama in Gugulethu. A chisa nyama is basically a butchery where you select your meat and take a seat at a nearby table – an open-sided restaurant – while it’s prepared. You can enjoy the township vibe and the company of those around you while you wait.

For a bit of history you can visit the oldest community in South Africa, the Bo-Kaap residents, who escaped the forced removals by the apartheid government. Many slaves from the 17th and 18th centuries were housed in this area, formerly known as the “Malay Quarter”.

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The colourful Bo-Kaap, photo courtesy Jan Koch

The Cape Muslim community originated in Bo-Kaap and many of its members are descendants of slaves from India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, brought by the Dutch East India Company. More than 90% of the 6 000 residents are Muslim.

Once you spot the Bo-Kaap cottages on the slopes of Signal Hill, they’re hard to forget. They are flat-roofed houses painted in bright colours of orange, lime and blue, giving them a modern look.

To learn more about the Islamic heritage and its colourful culture in South Africa, visit the Bo-Kaap Museum in Wale Street.

For reservations at Mzoli’s call +27 (0)21 638 1355 or +27 (0)78 606 7405.

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