Cape Town Archives

July 12, 2006

The End Of A Long Journey

I arrived in South Africa this morning after a lot of sitting on airplanes and in airport languages since midday Monday. It breaks down roughly as follows: eight hours in and around JFK Airport in New York, six hours flying to London, nine hours in Heathrow, and a bit more than eleven hours in the air en route to Cape Town.

July 13, 2006

Rainy Weather

First impressions of South Africa have been colored by continuing wet weather. It's winter here, of course, and while the temperatures have been cool but mild, we've seen a lot of precipitation. It has felt more like Ireland than Africa thus far!

July 14, 2006

Cape Flats Townships and Cape Town


I spent the morning visiting potential community service sites for the SACT program in the black and colored townships of Cape Flats: a soup kitchen, a day care centers for AIDS-infected and -affected children, a shelter for homeless teenagers, and a shelter for single women and their children. The poverty in these townships was ovewhelming. In the black townships, typical dwellings were shacks assembled from crates and metal and wood scraps. In the early afternoon, our small group of teachers had lunch in Cape Town at a restaurant that might well have been in New York, London, or Sydney--perfectly modern, comfortable, and upscale. The effect of the day, of course, was the odd juxtaposition of poverty and affluence within a few miles of each other. I suppose one could find similar examples of economic dissonance so close to each other in the States, too. But it's quite jarring.

July 15, 2006

Teaching A Diverse Group

I am teaching a class called Modern Africa and Global Relations here at the Summer Academy at Cape Town. What makes this experience so different from teaching at home is the diversity of the students in each class. While I am accustomed to having students from all over the world in my Choate classroom, the presence of Africans and Europeans (as well as a geographically and racially diverse smattering of Americans) in each group adds a lot to our discussions.

July 16, 2006

Robbens Island

Our group took the ferry from Cape Town to Robbens Island, which served as the prison for Nelson Mandela from some thirty years until his release in 1990. Pretty moving to see where so many political prisoners were incarcerated simply for opposing apartheid.

The afternoon brought a leisurely exploration of the V&A Waterfront--a touristy shopping area in Cape Town--and the Greenpoint market--what we would call a flea market, with dozens and dozens of vendors set up in a parking lot outside a stadium. I didn't have the energy or desire to engage in haggling, though.

July 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Madiba!


Happy 88th birthday, Nelson Mandela!

It's kind of cool to be in South Africa on this occasion.

July 19, 2006

Community Service

I have spent much of the past three days with the kids in the Summer Academy at Cape Town program engaged in community service. I've been working with a group in a colored township known as Mitchell's Plain, on the Cape Flats, in a place called Heaven's Shelter, which serves children and abused women. Much of our time is spent with very young children and helping to improve the meager facilities. It's pretty tough sat the end of the day to leave the eager faces, a couple of whom offer big hugs at departure time. When we arrived this morning, the kids were so excited to see our group get off the bus. It will be hard to leave this place for the last time next week, especially knowing that these kids have had people leaving them throughout their very young lives.

July 20, 2006

The Tour De France Gets Interesting


In year one of the post-Lance Armstrong era, another American has emerged as the central figure in the world's most famous bicycle race. After surrendering the yellow jersey after a disastrous outing on Wednesday, Floyd Landis rebounded to put himself back in the title hunt with an incredible performace, winning the race's last Alpine stage. Landis lost more than eight minutes to the race leader in a punishing stage just 24 hours earlier, but reduced the deficit to 30 seconds earlier today in a five-hour effort that blew his rivals away. He now is a legitimate threat to finish on the Champs Elysees as the victor of the 2006 Tour. It will be interesting to watch what happens.

About Cape Town

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to As Far As You Know in the Cape Town category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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