Our day started with an Assembly by the Camps Bay students. Ten groups performed everything from ballet, to modern dance to marimba, New Orleans jazz, and a capella and a folk song duet with guitar. The mix of culture, the talent and poise of the students kept everyone on the edge of their seat.
Just as impressive were the 600 students who sit on the floor of the auditorium and who supported their fellow students wholeheartedly. The students, dressed in green blazers and khaki uniforms, from grades 8 to 12 couldn't be more welcoming to us or their classmates. The mix of white, black and Asian students mixed easily in a way that was against the law just 18 years ago.
We then boarded the red double decker bus which took us on a tour of Cape Town past the tony Camps Bay area and Clifton Beach, the World Cup soccer stadium and the port of Cape Town. We traveled to the central business district and the historic section of town where got off the bus to go to two museums.
The first, the District 6 Museum depicts the government's demolishing of a 12 block area of the city in 1966. The apartheid government no longer wanted Africans to live in the city, so moved them to townships at least 10 miles out of the city and tore down all their houses. This "urban renewal" destroyed a vibrant economic, cultural and social area of the city based on the race of the inhabitants. The musuem captured the spirit of those who had lived there. They interviewed those who had lived there.
The students were captivated by a tour guide who decried the removal. His radical interpretation denounced the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and asked the kids to search their mindsets about issues of race. He was thought provoking and his presentation led to discussions on our walk to the Slave Lodge.
Nearby, just recently the city built a memorial to slavery in Cape Town with black cubes which commemorate the names of slaves, the paths of resistance. We then walked to the Slave Lodge, a place where more than 65,000 slaves lived in its almost 200 years of existence. First built in 1679, the building housed slaves who worked for the Dutch EAst India Company. They came from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), Mozambique, Madagascar, India and China, bringing with them their labor and their cultures. The Dutch freed the slaves if they lived until age 25.
Our last stop was a walk through town to Boo Kapp which is a Muslim area of town. It was originally a place where freed slaves lived. Recently it has become a more upscale part of town, still heavily Muslim with houses painted in bright colors. Up the hill, we got a beautiful view of the city and Table Mountain.
We got back on the Red Bus and made our way to the base of Table Mountain from where we could see the city, the port and the bay. Everyone wants the chance to climb it or take the gondola to the top. That will be for early next week.
The kids are very tired, and full of new information and questions. Tonight we have a braai put on by the parents and the kids will go on to the Valentines' Day dance. Tomorrow . . .a one day safari. They are melding into a great group! No problems!
More later. . .