Durban, East London and Cape Town
01.04.2013 - 05.04.2013 77 °F
Then off to Durban where we went to see a Zulu village that interprets the traditions of the Zulus, one of the largest tribes of South Africa. Folks in native dress demonstrated food preparation, beer making (dreadful stuff we swigged from a bowl we passed around) and courtship dances. We also saw many crocodiles at their feeding time.
Our day in Durban also gave us our first taste of the great concern for security that is a sad feature of South African life. Upon arrival, we were given a brochure by the local Tourist Board entitled “Welcome to Durban: the Warmest Place to Be.” A whole page in the brochure was devoted to “Safety Tips” including the following:
Avoid wearing jewelry, watches, or designer shades.
Be careful at ATMs.
Grasp handbags firmly under your arms.
Don’t let strangers get too close to you.
Don’t carry a camera openly in the city.
Also we couldn’t help but notice that many houses were surrounded by walls topped with broken glass or razor wire.
At our next port, East London, we went off to visit a village of another one of South Africa’s tribes, the Xhosas. The Xhosa language features clicking sounds, for instance the X in Xhosa is pronounced by clicking the tongue against the roof of the mouth. Children and young people in the village gave us a long presentation of much enthusiastic singing and dancing. We’ll show you a short video of this when we get back to Hartford.
The net morning we arose early to be on deck for our arrival in Cape Town, a beautiful city at the southern tip of Africa where the waters of the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. Above the city rises the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain.
Cape Town is a place of great contrast where 20 years after the end of apartheid (the former policy of racial separation), the disparity between black and white South Africans is still huge. We went on an overnight trip to the winelands of Stellenbosch where we stayed in a beautiful hotel and a dinner in the vineyards. But on the way back to the ship we drove for miles next to shanty settlements where poor blacks live in abject poverty. the South African government is working hard to provide such basics as employment, education, and housing with plumbing and electricity, but the needs are so great that many people still lack these necessities.