1 March 2010

Being Tourist Here

Hout Bay Seal Island

Having visitors over is a nice thing for many reasons. Well, if there visitors are nice people as one hopes they are, then that’s the biggest and the best bit, but also, you get to do the tourist things as well. Not that anyone stops you on other days, but it’s easier to get out and about when you’re with someone who’s got a week.

On Sunday we went to one of the seal cruises that depart from Hout Bay harbour. You know those ones? I didn’t. It was our guests who had heard of them. It’s a good deal; those boat rides are quite cheap (R40 for adult and R10 for a child) and they go for about 45 minutes stopping at a seal island – a few  massive rocks with quite many seals. It was such a nice surprise because I had never heard of the whole thing but enjoyed the ride tremendously.

The other thing we did today, as had been planned by me and my wife for some time but we saved it for our guests was Iziko Slave Lodge’s Nelson Mandela exhibition. Another bargain experience (R5 with South African student card – really? Yes, really – and I think R20 for rest).

It was nice enough exhibition – I do recommend you to check it, but the space seemed far too small for the amount of things on display. One felt a bit hurried and constantly on someone’s way. That’s not good, considering that these exhibitions are emotional walks as well; you’d rather feel detached from the crowds a bit. Not that there were any actual crowds, but even few people made it busy.

I also felt that there was some things that were a bit understated, but I guess that’s because the struggle history has been effortfully made into the one of hope and reconciliation. Of course, it has given and gave much hope, but if that’s all there was, they would have probably called it something other than the struggle. Also there were some minor things that were downplaying the pre-apartheid colonial rule that made me feel a bit awkward. A bit patronising it was.

I would also like to see these kind of exhibitions to look into the meanings of some of the key ideas of Mandela’s lineage, and even to explain the significance of the name Madiba, that now is known across the world. Since it is not, contrary to what one of the two Cape Town newspapers said on its front page, a nickname. I may have a special interest in this, but it would be worth saying a word or two about these ideas. I am not going to get into it, but you can listen to a lot of audio on this and related topics from our Inkokhelo.com blog (although not specifically on his clans, but generally the ones of amaXhosa).

But these are probably just my opinions and I am not presenting them as the truth; only that they are true to me. I am not the authority with these matters, but I do recommend you to see this one. And take that boat ride as well.

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