From Townships to Table Mountain

View of Cape Town from Table Mountain

After getting settled in my new home, I was able to spend a lot of time this week visiting my old favorite places in Cape Town as well as seeing some new ones. Because it is winter here, it has been a bit rainy but we had a few very nice days this week and I decided to take advantage of it by climbing up Table Mountain. The hike took us about two hours to get to the top and then an hour to climb back down. While there are many routes to climb up the mountain, we decided to do one labeled “expert,” which meant there were parts that were more of rock climbing than hiking. It was a clear day in Cape Town and our view from the top was fabulous!
The next day, I journeyed into on of the townships outside of Cape Town called Nyanga. During apartheid, all non-whites were removed from the city under the Group Areas Act and placed into separate townships organized by race. Though apartheid is over, these townships still exist and in fact are growing as more people from rural areas flock to the city to look for employment. Unfortunately, unemployment in Cape Town is quite high, and some estimates place it at around 70% in Nyanga. While I was here last year, I volunteered at a children’s home called Emasithandane teaching an after school tutoring program for a group of eight girls. Getting to see my girls again was so great, they were all doing well and the oldest one now had a job, which was great to see. While I was helping them with their work last year, they were also helping me with my Xhosa (their first language) and my dancing skills. During my visit this week we decided to break out the drum and see how much I remembered of the dances, which turned out to be not very much. 
Dancing in the streets in Nyanga, a township outside Cape Town
As far as my research goes, I am making a lot of progress. My work entails visiting bars and clubs to see if they are complying with South Africa’s strict tobacco control laws, which prohibit smoking in bars and clubs. Unfortunately I have so far seen that no venue has been completely compliant so far. I am visiting places in different areas of the city, but all that attract mostly young adults. I’ll be continuing this week collecting data and then hopefully starting to compile and analyze next week.