It’s the 16th of December.
At the Amadana Bar last Sunday night a guy told me that this upcoming Wednesday was public holiday in South Africa, but he didn’t explained me what kind of holiday it was, and I, naively, didn’t make any question about it.
Perhaps he pronounced the words “Reconciliation Day” but, since not necessarily during bank holidays some special event happen,I probably didn’t pay to much attention in these two words, even if uttered.
So everything begins on a Wednesday like many others in the district of Woodstock, a pretty interesting neighborhood of Cape Town where I settle down for about 1 week.
I like to think at it like a kind of midway between Africa and the suburbs of European cities such as Berlin or London.
Unlike the city center, shiny and perfect, here imperfections are quite obvious and also pretty cool. During the day people are poured into the streets, every 10 meters happen to greet to a “good morning” or “good afternoon” coming from strangers as if I was living in this area since ever.
At night time streets are, instead, empty and seems like nothing is really going on and the area become a heap of dark and narrow streets.
But about Woodstock and what I think of Cape Town in general I will write into a future posts in which I hope I will be able to tell my impressions as “outsider”.
Let’s get back to the 16th of December. Wednesday lunchtime.
I’m working on the computer. Today I decided not to do anything special except to work and start planning the coming weeks that I guess will end to Durban, still not sure about it, taking me also to the border with Lesotho, along the Route 62, Garden Route and the Wild Coast.
My neighbor, the Indian-SouthAfrican who every morning pay a visit to me, knocking at my window, just to greet me, at 10am is cooking something that smells of indian food. I do not know what he really does just a few meters away from me, but that smell is definitely coming from behind that door I have never crossed.
Still in pajamas but incredibly curious I decided it’s time to cross that border within my house and his, put slowly my head into his part of the building and … I solve the scented mystery!
He is a chef and today he is cooking African-Indian dishes for about 200 people in his HUGE open air kitchen. He shows me around, the one that used to be a garden that now is a kitchen where maybe 10 big pots are cooking all together. There is a party today. He said.
1 hour later he showed up again at mine bringing me two containers in polystyrene filled with curry rice and meat and rice without curry but still pretty spiced with lamb. “Giulia, you gotta try it”. He says. And so I do.
Whilst I’m eating my daily free spicy food, a noise comes from the street. Indeed, it is not noise, it is a band playing. I can hear the drums, this lovely and amusing constant of my stay in the city.
I am still in pajamas but time goes by too fast so I put the flip flops and run out armed with an action cam and cellphone being sure I will crush into something pretty nice out there.
And in fact hundreds of people dance and play to the crossbars of the neighborhood, some are dressed as clowns, or something like that, others have painted faces embellished with rhinestones.
“It’s your lucky day, girl”
A man says to me.
“Why? What happens now? And above all, where are you all going? “
“Come to Cape Town, we’re all going there. Today is Reconciliation Day. Don’t miss the Parade!”
I got back home, took a shower, and tried to find informations about this parade he was talking about.
Not that much online but what I saw was already a decent reason why to let me drive down to the center and start looking for it.
It wasn’t hard to find the parade. I parked and got to Darling Street, just opposite to the train station, no more than 5 minutes walking from Commercial street, where I usually park.
The street, bordered by barriers, was plenty of people, I believe that families come in the morning as they are equipped with tents, mattresses, chairs, drinks and food.
I find a corner between two ladies, former residents of District Six. Upon my arrival, the groups are still, it’s time to pray for Muslims people and so everything stopped for about 30 minutes. Praying time is over, now the parade can begin!
I got there right in time to see the groups of the Cape Town’s districts scrolling in front of me, dancing and playing music, while the two ladies tells me some stories.
We talk about life in Cape Town, about the crimes and the dangers that I don’t really see but there are, about life before and life today advancing hypotheses about the future.
Reconciliation Day Cape Town Photos – December 16, 2015
Un altro giorno importante è il 2 Gennaio in occasione del Kaapse Klopse, detto anche “secondo nuovo anno” durante il quale 13.000 menestrelli colorano la città e si suona musica. A quanto mi è stato riferito un Reconciliation Day ma ancora più in grande.
I travel independently taking mainly public transport. A world trip began in 2011 is not yet finished, my mission is to explore the world and write about it. Travel consultant Africa and Latino America