SUNDAY, APRIL 5, 2009 – 87/57 – CAPE TOWN
This is Palm Sunday and we have a nice day and a nice view of Table Mountain from our veranda. This is is a day for packing and resting before another flying marathon starting at 6:30 in the morning.
At breakfast, we visit with one of the women who own the hotel and she explains the power shortages, which plague South Africa as well as something about the “townships”, and housing problems we saw yesterday. During “Apartheid,” blacks could not live in white areas and had to carry passbooks at all times to allow them to move about. They had to return to the “townships” each evening.
During Apartheid, electric power generation capacity only supplied the white population; 10% of the total population. Now everyone is equal and entitled to power and there is not enough generating capacity. We saw three new power generating plants east of Johannesburg; at least one of which was nuclear. She said it will take 20-30 years to build enough generating capacity. During the winter, there are daily, rolling blackouts all over the country due to the power shortage.
We are told that the centers of many of the “townships” have decent housing and many educated blacks choose to live where they grew up. However, the “townships” are concentric circles of increasing squalor as more and more people move into the city area in search of work. At the fringe of these “townships” are the illegal aliens who come to South Africa to escape the genocide and other depredations of other black African countries, such as Zimbabwe.
Our hostess, an immigrant from England just three years ago, says it will take three generations to clean up the mess left by Apartheid. To our eyes, the task appears quite daunting.
Late in the afternoon, we go back to the V & A Wharf Mall for another steak dinner at Balthazar.While at the mall we pick up new lens filters for Dick’s camera. Somehow, one was broken and the other chipped on the way to Cape Town. The mall is packed with people…lots of family just strolling and sitting around. There really didn’t seem to be many people in any of the stores except the supermarket. Dinner was good once again. Since the sun was just setting, we drive through the old part of downtown before heading back to the hotel and calling it a day. We probably won’t post again till we get to Dubai on the 14th. Hope we will have some great safari pictures!
One last comment, we really enjoyed the safari experiences in South Africa, but we have not enjoyed Cape Town as much as some of the other bigger cities we visited. The people we met have been delightful, but we have had a feeling of restlessness at times and it made us uncomfortable. Though that may just be the country’s growing pains.