The cape peninsula is historically known for being the site where the first European settlers arrived in South Africa. Portuguese explorer, Bartolomeu Dias and his crew were the first Europeans to sail around the southern point of the continent of Africa in 1496. The Cape of Good Hope earned its name because these sailers were hopeful it would simplify trade with with the east referring to India.
The cape peninsula tour was truly a scenic excursion filled with sightseeing that is bucket-list worthy! Initially, we started out by exploring the Good Cape of Hope Nature Reserve in Simons town where we saw native South African penguins. Yes I said Penguins! As a group, we got a lot of pictures and footage of penguins and in a variety phases of there day some swimming, sleeping, walking, and playing. Many were adults but a few fluffy feathered babies laid amongst the colony. On our way to lunch we passed small South African pop-up shops filled with beautiful souvenirs. Fish and chips is a specialty you wouldn’t want to miss if stopping by Simons town. After lunch, the group was rather stuffed. However, we continued on to view more of a greener scene at Table Mountain National Park ;this park is a natural habitat to South Africa’s baboons. Be careful to not to feed them there known for being aggressive when choosing to do so. In the midst of the greenery was a lighthouse as well. For our last adventure of the day, we headed off to Cape of Good Hope typically where the Women and Gender Studies Program takes their traditional Cape of Good Hope picture. This area is scenic with the backdrop of mountainous
views, short green grass, and plenty of rocks to create divine scene for picture taking off the water.
However, in terms in connecting this space with what we have learning through our study abroad. The cape peninsula went under a lot a chaotic historical events that led to what it has become today. The space now is where mostly white South Africans reside. However, this was not the case until the apartheid government forcibly removed people of color, which is inclusive of indigenous Africans from their land. Forcibly removing people into other townships within Cape Town predominantly on how they identified racially. This racial categorization made it easier for the Apartheid government to operate by maintaining segregation amongst the people of South Africa. Although, Cape Town peninsula is a very scenic and beautiful place to see there is a lot of historical strife that has taken place on these grounds that must not be forgotten. The cape peninsula tour connects directly with why museums such as District 6 have come about to commemorate another part of the city of Cape Town that was declared a “white only” area and was home to various people of color who forcibly removed under the Apartheid regime. Additionally the Iziko Slave Lodge, that gave people of slave decent a narrative in history because under Apartheid slavery was not included as the history of South Africa.
I went to this excursion so excited for what I would see however was intentional about being mindful of the space in which I resided. Although, Cape peninsula is beautiful and it’s easy to allow your heart to be captivated by its timeless views and charm being observant of how it came to existence is very much important piece of reflection. I found myself in a space in which I was contemplating what does all this mean? Being an American in another country it is quite difficult to immerse yourself into a setting that you are not familiar. However, having a historical context to go off helps in understanding why things are the way they are currently and in being conscious of the interactions with people of South Africa. I look forward to reflecting more and working through what it means to be in South Africa. After all, “wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow” (Anita Desai).