In North America if the rental
place runs out of econo compacts, they bump you up to the next
size up. Here in Cape Town, they give you a leather upholstered
BMW. I’m so self-conscious driving around the shantytowns of
Mitchell’s Plains in this luxury rental when some of these folks
might not even have a pot to piss in.
We park amongst a row of jalopies. Our shiny BMW is sticking out
like a sore thumb and so do we. Well… at least we’re not white.
We keep our cameras in our bags until we feel out the situation.
Cheuk chats up the coach at the soccer field while the kids’
checkout David and me with curiosity. The brave ones poke at us
with their fingers as if we were from Mars. Some think David is
a woman because of his fair skin and pretty face. He is not
amused. They were shy at first… but once they felt comfortable
with us we couldn’t get rid of them for any clear shots. But I
think we got some good stuff here and Cheuk is glad that no one
came up to us with machetes demanding his first born like they
did to him in Kenya.
We drive back to Cape Town hugging the shoreline of white sandy
beaches. Not a single black body can be found amongst the white
surfers. A stark contrast to the townships we just left behind.
It’s magic hour as we cruise along Main Street towards Golden Dragon. Bars and cafes are gearing up for the evening
nightlife. It is a predominantly white neighbourhood. The only
black faces you see are the street venders who I highly doubt
can afford to live anywhere near here. It looks like it might
take some years for these apartheid conditionings to blow away.
Cheuk wants to get Onkuen together with Shereen at the Noon Gun
Tearoom. I think it’s a good idea. Another woman activist with
strong feminist and political convictions might bring out
another side of Onkuen not accessible by us. I got some really
great sequences with engaging dialogue of pre- and
post-apartheid South Africa from two very different women.
Shereen is having us for another scrumptious Cape Malay lunch
while Onkuen and Maylee goes back down the hill to open up for
the lunch crowd. I follow Shereen into her kitchen and film her
making koeksisters, a Dutch Indonesian delicacy resembling a
donut but without the hole.
After lunch, with Table Mountain as
backdrop, Shereen shares more of her apartheid struggles on
camera. She gets quite emotional as memories of her involvement
in the underground movement comes back to haunt her.
We find ourselves at Victoria and Albert Waterfront. At last, a
place where we see a slice of what post-apartheid is supposed to
be. In this rejuvenated modern tourist trap, we are seeing
blacks, whites, and browns mixing innocently on this lazy Sunday
afternoon. But is this real? Or is this a Benetton ad… A “wish
you were here” tourist propaganda façade to pacify and cover up
what’s not being accomplish in this post-apartheid fantasyland?