23 July 2012
A shiny red double-decker with an open top pulls in. Armed with a set of headphones, the bus make it journey into the city. The red route takes in the places within the city and eventually makes it way to the Table Mountain and to Camps Bay. The bus weaved through the late morning traffic, tall shiny glass and steel buildings and ended in the older parts of the city. This is a hop on and hop off bus offers an opportunity to cover distances if personal transport is not available. My first stop was near the St George Cathedral. However, I first went to the vibrant and colourful Green Market square. This was my second visit. Today this cobbled stone artesian market, one of the oldest, is surrounded by cares and restaurants to taunt the shoppers to rest and refuel themselves. You can be sipping Kurdish coffee one moment and next salivating over a cheese cake. It is a great place to get bargains for souvenirs and local handicrafts. From belts, wood ware to T-shirts, curios to costume jewellery. Bartering is a must not only to get a good deal but also as a means of interaction. An element of social communication and cross cultural exchange is a prerequisite. This market place was used as a slave market not too long ago. This quaint market is truly a reflection of Africa [although most may be transient – immigrants and non-Capetonians]. Being an open air market, the weather can dull this vibrant place.
A short walk from Green Market Square on bustling Adderley Street is the vibrant and colourful Flower Market. Under a canopy in a narrow lane, the market had been bringing brightness to the lives of Capetonians for over a hundred years. A string of friendly vendors from a long tradition passed from generation to generation had been showing off their fragile but wonderful produce here for a long time. A myriad of colours from an assortment of exotic and local fresh-cut flowers and foliage including fynbos species such proteases are on display. Some blooms are scented and some very tender. I spoke to one vendor whom had been here for over forty years. This place is now a local institution. The main street was din with traffic.
At the corner of Adderley and Wale Street is one of Cape Town’s oldest buildings – the Slave Lodge. It is located in a quieter part at Church Square. Built in 1697, this was the holding place for slaves before being traded off. Images, pictures and other illustrations dipict their indignified and often turbulent lives. All with the approval of the colonist at that time. Apartheid seemed mild in contrast. There were moments that I wondered how this situations, of mankind on both side, existed and even prospered.
Opposite the Slave Museum, two men sat under a tree canopy selling wild figs and wild fig jam on a wooden folding table. I was intrigued and taste them. It was sweet and sour with a strong acidic taste. I liked it. Something to carry when on long winding bus travels. Nearby was St George’s Cathedral – the oldest Cathedral in Southern Africa. Its exterior was solid stone with glass panels. Its facade reflected off the modern glassed buildings across the somber street.