Sir Francis Drake proclaimed it “the fairest cape of all”, passing Cape of Good Hope in 1577 in search of the desired spice route to India, and I agree: it is a truly amazing city, neatly hidden in a natural harbor, guarded by an iconic mountain.
With such an incredible city, of course, history always attracts attention, and I thought I would give a brief overview of the trials and tribulations of the “mother city” of South Africa.
Although many sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, it was not until 1652 that Dutchman Jan Van Rybik, a member of the VOC (Dutch East India Company), arrived at the Cape and arranged to set up a service station for fresh fruits and vegetables for all passing ships that were European / colonial. development really began in South Africa.
Jan Van Rybik landed at Cape on three ships – “Reyer”, “Dramedaris” and “Gide Hoop” accompanied by 82 men and 8 women (including Maria de la Queller, his wife). The ships “Walvis” and “Oliphant” arrived later, having survived a terrible sea voyage, where they had to bury in the sea 130 souls, a large number due to the terrible disease “scurvy”. Prior to their arrival on the land mostly dominated by Hottentots and Hoysan, local hunters gathered tribes.
With the arrival of new settlers in this new and exciting “De Kaap” a whole new society was created. A truly eclectic mix of cultures, races and religions.
At first the VOCs did not want to conquer or colonize the land (they did not want a government headache), they only wanted fresh fruits and vegetables, however with the start of the war between the Dutch Republic and England there was intense tension to get as much land to help the result of the war.
To ensure the safety of the new land, Ian proceeded to build a castle in Cape Town, directly on the sea, he christened it after the first ship arrived at Cape de Goed Hoop, and made of mud, clay and wood, with the 4 angles indicated in honor the first 4 ships that arrived at the cape. (The Castle of Good Hope still stands on Adderley Street in Cape Town, due to the recession and land restoration in Cape Town, it is now located more internally than it could have been when it was originally built. The best example of VOC architecture that has survived, and the oldest building in Cape Town)
This construction required a huge amount of work, and it was then that slaves began to be sent to De Kaap, mainly from other Dutch territories, including Angola, Madagascar and Batavia (now known as Java). These slaves banded together and became recognized by Cape Malay, today they are the heart and soul of Cape Town with their culture, traditions and religious rites.
When the war stopped (around 1657), the VOC gave the first permits to release 9 company employees, who became known as the Free Burghers, to cultivate the land along the Lisbeck River. This was the beginning of a permanent settlement at Cape.
Jan Van Rybik remained the director of the Cape until 1662, at this stage the settlement numbered only 134 officials, 35 free burghers, 15 women, 22 children and 180 slaves.
Simon van der Stehl, after whom the town of Stellenbosch is named, arrived in 1697 to replace Van Rybeck as governor of Coopstadt. As a rule, Van der Steel appropriated the beginning of the Cape wine industry, taking with him on the ship the first vines. Because the area in the Stellenbash region was ideal for grape harvesting, this trade settled well and quickly became an important part of their trade and economy. Wines from the cape were prized and were soon imported back to the Dutch Republic. Simon van der Stel also supported territorial expansion in the Colony.
The first non-Dutch migrants to the cape (other than slaves brought to work on the land) were the Huguenots, who arrived in 1688 and escaped anti-Protestant persecution in Catholic France. At first they fled to the Netherlands, where they were given free passage to the cape, as well as land for cultivation. This was the VOC’s inherent move to boost wine production at the cape. The Huguenots, who knew a great deal about winemaking, set up their house in an area which they called “Franchhook” (French Corner), and at once proceeded to the house; including celebrating all their French traditions. (Today they still celebrate Bastille Day in Franschhoek.)
The settlement at the Cape grew rapidly over the next few years, and by 1754 the number of settlements at the Cape had reached 5,510 Europeans and 6,729 slaves.
However, as usual, the war was of great importance to the new Cape colony, and when in 1780 France and Britain started a war against each other, the Netherlands went to war on the French side, and thus a small battalion of French troops was sent to the cape to protect it from the British. They did not stay long at Cape and were soon transported back to France in 1784. As usual, the old allies soon became adversaries, and when France invaded the Netherlands in 1795, the Prince of Orange was forced to flee to his old enemy England for safety. .
Because the news had been going to the Cape for so long, the Governor of Cape knew of the new agreement only when the British arrived in Cape Town with a letter from the Prince of Orange stating that they were allowed to defend Cape Town from the French. .
Unfortunately, the Commissioner’s reaction was mixed, and the British had to fight for the Cape at the Battle of Muisenberg. As a rule, the period back and forth began with the fact that the cape was given to the Dutch in the treaty of 1803, and then returned to the British in 1806.
However, from 1806, when the British resolutely entered, they took control of the city and set about making it a more developed city for living. They sent home the colonists, and soon in 1820 the English began to arrive in their numbers. More and more people arrived daily, this caused expansionism (mainly by the original Dutch, now known as the Afrikaner or Boer (farmer) settlers) inland, and soon colonies were established in the free state of Transvaal and Orange.
Soon the conflicts between the Boer republics in the interior and the British colonial government in Cape Town ended with the Second Boer War of 1899-1901. Britain with its stronger military force and human strength eventually won the war, but not without much effort, fighting against the tactics of guerrilla warfare in the Boers.
In 1910, Britain created the Union of South Africa, which united the Cape Colony with the two defeated Boer Republics and the recently recognized British colony of Port Natal. Cape Town became the legislative capital of the Union and later of South Africa.
Over the next few years both the British and the Africans lived in comparative harmony in this new union, and many beliefs and values became prevalent among the people of the South African Union.
In the 1948 national elections, the National Party received astonishing support based on the policy of apartheid (racial segregation). They succeeded under the slogan “Swart Gevaar” (in English it means Black Threat). They taught people to beware of blacks and wanted them to see in them a danger to their lives and work. This soon led to the creation of strategies such as the Group Areas Act, which meant that all people living in South Africa were classified according to race and skin color. Many serious tests have been conducted to establish whether people were black, colored, or white; one of the funniest was the pencil test, when a pencil was inserted into the hair of a person of suspicious color, and when the pencil got stuck in people’s hair, it meant that they were black, because these people are more likely. Of course, this is quite logical !? And this meant that the same families were divided among themselves and classified as black and white in one family, which of course caused immense hardship and suffering to the whole family.
With the classification of races, living segregation quickly emerged, when colored and unpainted people were not allowed to live in the same areas. Earlier, the multi-lane neighborhood of Cape Town was cleared of colored people, and their homes were demolished. One of the most shameful examples of this is the “Six Counties,” where in 1965 a decision was made to have a single white zone, and more than 60,000 people were forcibly deported and their homes destroyed. Further nothing was done with this land; it was just a declaration of segregation! Many of these residents have been relocated to areas such as Cape Flats and Lavender Hill.
Under apartheid rules, Cape Town was considered a “color work preference zone,” meaning you can secure a color person’s job, but you can’t hire a black “bow”. Whites clearly preferred, but in case of serious need you could hire a colored person.
As you can imagine, given the many rules, acts and forms of segregation the lives of many people have been truly tyrannical. However, not all white and colored people supported the apartheid regime, and there were many, especially in the Cape Town area, who started the fight against apartheid and joined it.
Unfortunately, it took a lot of time and a lot of heartache and suffering before things went ahead.
Robben Island, ex [penitentiary|prison] an island 10 kilometers from the city, was [famous|well known|renowned] for many political prisoners, some of whom were held for years. The most famous [inmate|prisoner|convict] was Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years, but during all that time he never gave up [hope|faith|belief] what a “new” South Africa might be [achieved|created|established].
The end of the apartheid era was firmly symbolized when, on February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela delivered his first public speech. [balcony|gallery] Cape Town City Hall, a few hours later [released|set free] from Robben Island. His emotional speech filled with passion and joy [heralded|announced|indicated] the beginning of a new era for the country.
The first democratic elections in South Africa took place four years later, on April 27, 1994.
It was the beginning of a new Rainbow Nation – a land for all.
For me, South Africa really symbolizes the best of the human spirit, the triumph of good over evil and the power of people and perseverance. If you believe in something hard enough and work on it, it will eventually come true.
Since 1994, when the new Republic of South Africa was firmly in place, people have been able to focus on the exhibition to protect their amazing city to the rest of the world. And it’s amazing.
In Cape Town there is so much to see and do that you need at least 4 or 5 days to explore this fantastic region. From the city itself, to Cape Point, to vineyards, town tours, whale watching, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, Harley-Davidson riding, mountain biking, horseback riding, hot air balloon safaris, fine dining, museums, museums shopping just relax on Victoria and Alfred’s waterfront and take it all.