Category Archives: Cape Town

Let me be clear, because some responses suggest I was not in my recent column for the International New York Times: from just about every assessment, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape are consistently rated among the top performing South African metros and provinces respectively in terms of governance and levels of service delivery. That said, if the Democratic Alliance had its way, this should be the only basis by which the metro and province it governs are to be assessed: relative to other metros and provinces. If the African National Congress had its way, Cape Town and the Western Cape are to be assessed independently, with no reference to the other metros and provinces the ANC itself governs.

This is a political gambit I, as a thinking, observant, politically unaffiliated resident of Cape Town and a citizen of South Africa, am under no obligation and have no desire to play. None of us, really, are under an obligation to play this game, yet we do because many of us support political parties like we do soccer clubs: blindly. Continue reading

A “radical intellectual” replies: No, Ms de Lille, Cape Town is no benchmark for social justice

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Busker by-law? There is no busker by-law


This started out as an admonishment of Cape Town residents for our tardy outrage and showboat sense of civic responsibility. We turned up in huge numbers, I was going to say, when city law-enforcement officers publicly assaulted and arrested Lunga Gooodman Nono, but where were we when the laws and regulations he supposedly fell foul of were made? Public participation in law-making, after all, forms one of the key pillars of our constitutional democracy. It’s on us if unjust laws make it into the statute books. Continue reading

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From behind the mountain

On Wednesday night, I was with a few naturalised Capetonians – artists, gallery people and such – and some visitors (mostly American) to the Cape’s shores. The Americans thought Cape Town reminded them of San Francisco, with the ocean and the mountains and the nearby wineries (I’ve heard this a lot from their sort); and the Europeans said it’s a Mediterranean sound bite in the summer and a snapshot of a sleepy, misty Dutch town when it rains in winter.

Everyone there that night was from somewhere else so invariably, the conversation turned to life in Cape Town for someone new. This wasn’t my first time around the block with this topic. It was no surprise then when this was said of Cape Town residents: they are incapable of driving, are very cliquey and act like laundry (the whites, colours and darks wash separately). Continue reading