Apartheid History Cape Town

Following the history of apartheid in Cape Town

If you are lucky enough to visit Cape Town on a trip to South Africa, there are two must-see places to understand the history of apartheid: the District Six Museum and Robben Island.

District Six Museum

The District Six Museum is located in the center of Cape Town on Buitenkant Street and shows the history of the now-disappeared district six, the district dismantled in the 60s and 70s due to racial laws. It wants to be a tribute to the history of the approximately 50.000 people residing here before the forced evictions. The museum is managed exclusively by former residents of the neighborhood and tries to rebuild the interiors of the houses of the era. In the middle there is a large map where the people who lived there indicated the location of their home.

It is an evocative place because it allows us to understand what we were forced to do because of the tough South African laws that forced blacks to live in neighborhoods outside the city.

Robben Island

Robben Island, on the other hand, can only be reached by guided tours that depart from the Waterfront. The ticket allows you to access the tour of the island used as a prison until 1996. Today has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO dedicated to all those who like Nelson Mandela spent many years of imprisonment. Throughout the visit you are accompanied by a former prison inmates. For us it was strange to think that the person who was telling us about the barbarism to which he was subjected (as having to spend the winter in very wet and completely naked cells with only one blanket) had really experienced them in the first person.

Mandela Cell

The tour includes a visit to the old prison and to the cell of Mandela and a 45-minute bus ride to the island with comments on places of note such as the lime quarry where the inmates were employed in forced labor. We were there all together before the cell of a person who made the history of South Africa and the emotion was very amazing. To think that this extraordinary man has spent most of his life in honor of a very high value like the equality, still leaves us speechless even now.

Where to Stay

Kensington Place

Kensington Place is a luxurious boutique hotel set on the slopes of Table Mountain in one of Cape Town’s prime residential areas. Its 8 individually-designed bedrooms are a striking blend of contemporary European décor and African art and textiles. Throughout, earthy tones and natural textures have been used successfully to create an understated elegance. The central location makes it an ideal base for forays to historical sites, vineyards, nature reserves and beaches. After a day out, return for a dip in the plunge pool. Then retreat to your private terrace to enjoy wonderful views of the city, harbour and mountains and contemplate your dinner venue, trendy Kloof Street is just a stroll away. Exceptionally well run, the service at Kensington Place is professional and personal. Staff will happily offer to run errands or rustle up a midnight sandwich for a hungry guest.

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