Striated Skies No. 48 – Is it the Spirit of Cape Town?

48. Is it the Spirit of Cape Town?

Taken on a beautiful day in Cape Town, the picture that inspired this striated sky shows a CMACGM container ship leaving the harbour as smaller vessels sail about. The picture is taken on Haul Rd looking North East towards Bloubergstrand.  This blog is divided into three parts: Cape Town Harbour, CMACGM and the Dolosse

Cape Town Harbour

The Cape Town Harbour sees a large majority of Fruit and Fish exports out of South Africa. It is by no means the largest harbour and other harbours are planned to overtake it in terms of yearly tonnage. For a detailed breakdown of the South African harbours and Transnet’s future planning check out this document. Cape Town Harbour has grown over the years, starting with the Victoria and Alfred basin (now home to the V&A waterfront) and expansion to its current location, there are plans to continue its expansion.

CMACGM

The Story of CMACGM is quite an inspiring one. The company is the result of a merger when state owned CGM was privatised. Jacques Saadé started CMA in 1978 with one ship operating between Beirut, Lattakia, Marseille, and Livorno. There were 4 employees. The company continued to grow and in 1996 the CMA industrial plan was selected by the French government and Saadé turned CGM around in under a year. In 1999 the companies merged to form the 12th largest shipping company in the world. In 2000 they were voted best shipping company in the world and are currently the 3rd largest with a capacity of 13 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit i.e. no. of containers) a year. One of their 470 vessels (with a combined capacity of 1,880,000 TEUs) is named “Spirit of Cape Town”.

Dolosse

On the right hand side of the picture you can see some dolosse protecting the coast from erosion. The reason I have decided to write a little bit about the dolosse is that they are a South African invention. The Dolos was invented in 1963 by East London harbour engineer Eric Merrifield (possibly together with Aubrey Kruger) after a storm ripped off 60% of East London harbour’s armour. The design is an H shape with one leg turned 90 degrees. The dolosse fit together forming a porous wall that allows the dissipation of energy when waves hit it. Dolosse are used on coastlines around the world. The Dolos Breakwater Block Memorial, can be seen at the East London Harbour.

 

Striated Skies

Striated Skies No. 47 – True Colours

Striated Skies

Taken on the corner of Chiapinni St and Helliger Ln, this striated sky depicts the sun shining in on the colourful homes of the Bo Kaap. Bo Kaap is situated on the slopes of Signal Hill in Cape Town between Buitengracht St, Strand St and Carisbrook Street. The area is home to the largest collection of pre-1850 architecture in South Africa as well as the oldest Mosques. Previously known as the Malay quarter, the area was where free slaves settled in the 18th Century. Most slaves were from South East Asia and the name Malay is not necessarily correct but is what history gives us.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 8.01.01 AMBo Kaap

I sat for many hours reading up on the internet and watching videos about the Bo Kaap to decide what I should write about and what to name this piece. All the information reminded me how in society we are so often polarised, black or white. Bo Kaap was once a microcosm of different cultures but Apartheid took that away with the group areas act making the Bo Kaap a “Cape Malay” area.

One topic that is hot right now is the gentrification of the Bo Kaap. Given its close proximity to the city, makes the Bo Kaap a great place for outsiders to buy up homes that are in disrepair and to restore them. Many people see this as a great opportunity as house prices increase and the area develops. The down side of this is that original dwellers can no longer afford to live in the area and are “forced” to sell their homes thus resulting in a loss of the cultural heritage of the area.

The question we have to ask is: are the Bo Kaap’s true colours not in the culture of the residents as opposed to the brightly coloured buildings. What attracts tourists to the area? I believe that we need to make sure that the areas cultural heritage is kept in tact and that while the upliftment and development of the area is required it should not come at the expense of local’s heritage and history.

The beauty of the Architecture in the Bo Kaap is one aspect of the area, I would suggest a visit to see the amazing beauty but look at learning a little about the people of the area, this is some advice that I need to take up myself.

 

Some of the Sources of my information:

In 2012 Helen Gibb released a series of documentaries on YouTube which give a personal account of history and the current state of Bo Kaap (unfortunately part 5 of the series is muted to apparent copyright infringement).

Siteseer.tv encourage tourists to visit the Bo Kaap as well as many other Cape Town destinations.

Anouk Zijlma writes a great article o the Bo Kaap here

Bo Kaap Mapping 

Cape Chameleon Cover Story

Bo Kaap Museum website 

Cape Town Hoods Bo Kaap Page

Striated Skies No. 46 – Seaside Legacy

46. Seaside Legacy

Muizenberg is a sea-side suburb of Cape Town in False Bay. The “Town” was either named after the Moetjesons (a Khoi group living in the area in the late 18th century) or Willem Muijs, who was in charge of the  Dutch East India Company winter anchorage and cattle post in 1782 when the name first appeared on the map.

Over time Muizenberg gained popularity as a sea side resort, the Southern Train Line increased the number of visitors to the resort and a number of palatial homes were built. Due to the increased traffic the South African Railways decided to build a new Station in 1911 that would embody the importance of Muizenberg.  Architect J.C. Tully designed the Edwardian structure which took near on two years to build. It was opened on 7 June 1913 by the Minister of Railways and Harbours, the Honourable Henry Burton. The station was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation in 1982.

John Collingwood Tully was born in 1855 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.  He articled as a Premium pupil to Robert J Johnson of Austin Johnson & Hicks, a well-known practitioner of the Gothic Revival style in Newcastle-on-Tyne for five years. Tully moved to South Africa in 1889 and worked as a clerk of works in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein before moving to Cape Town to work on Groote Schuur by Herbert Baker on the first reconstruction for CJ Rhodes (1894-1897). He was married in 1896 and entered into partnership with Spencer Waters in Cape Town in 1897. In 1910 he moved to Pietermaritzburg where is lived until he passed away in 1929, although his death certificate is not available.

Muizenberg was also the destination of the first South African airmail – sent from Kenilworth on 27 December 1911. for more history on Muizenberg and the station visit:

http://gosouthonline.co.za/muizenberg-the-golden-years/

http://www.sahistory.org.za/places/railway-station-muizenberg#sthash.PtA8G8ep.dpuf

http://www.atlanticrail.co.za/stations_history.php

http://www.artefacts.co.za/main/Buildings/bldgframes.php?bldgid=8218

I recommend a trip to Muizenberg, We will be going back next weekend to walk from Muizenberg to Kalk bay. During the summer this area is a buzz with tourists and the main road is always jammed with traffic.

 

 

Striated Skies No. 45 – St James the Great

45. St James the Great

This weeks Striated sky depicts the St James the Great,  Anglican Church. The church is situated on St James Road in Sea Point right next to the High School. As I am sure you know, I usually take time to research online about my picture. I tried with this picture and found out that you cannot find everything on the internet. The church has a Facebook page but nothing about their history.

So the story will have to be about how we ended up in Sea Point and taking this awesome photograph…

Do you enjoy walking and discovering new places? Do you wish you knew more about the places that you visit? If these questions are yes then go to the app/play store on your phone and download VoiceMap. We joined a Meetup to walk the Sea Point Promenade, the walk was fantastic and we went for a drink afterward before walking to our car to go home. On the walk back to the car we stumbled on St James the Great.

Voicemap was Co-Founded by Lauren Edwards and Ian Manley, two internationally travelled Cape Townians, this app allows you to go on guided tours without having to be in a big group. The app uses the GPS on your phone to tell you the story as you go. As of today there are 122 tours, spread across 21 countries, with new tours added weekly. (see the list below).

When you go to the website you will see that you can become a tour guide by creating your own tour. All the stories are by locals and narrated by them, ensuring that you get a personal tour. What a great idea and it is simple and easy to use.

Download Voicemap and use it to discover our beautiful Country and many others abroad. Summer is on its way and the days are starting to stretch out, so make the most them now before the Christmas influx.


List of destinations you can go on a tour with VoiceMap.

 

Striated Skies No. 44 – Butter Heart

44.Butter Heart

Bot River is a small hamlet approximately 100km outside of Cape Town, on the N2, between Grabouw and Caledon. It is home to approximately 4000 people and 14 wineries on the Bot River Wine Route.

Khoi herders called the area home, with the “Couga River” providing pastures that were lush.  Settlers came to the area to Barter for “Botter” (Butter) from the Khoi in the area and this is where the name Bot River comes from.  The hamlet formed in the 18th century as an outpost for the Dutch East India Company and after the battle of Blouberg Daniel de Kock was given ownership of Compagnes Drift the farm which he had rented. In 1912 the first train ran through the hamlet although the hamlet did not grow from its small size.

The picture for this striated sky is taken on the pass towards Villiersdorp. The dirt road winds from the main road of Bot River past farmlands including vineyards, canola and wheat. We had taken a drive out to do some wine tasting and saw this beautiful scene about 1km down the road. After some photography, we stopped at Luddite (5 stars – definitely recommend a trip) and then continued to Goedvertrouw Wine Estate.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 11.53.50 AMThe story of Luddite is one of a couple that love wine and making it in a way that has little intervention. The winery situated a rocky outcrop, on which Niels and Penny planted vines in 2001, is home to ±6Ha of vines.

The story of Goedvertrouw Wine Estate is a story that is both heart warming and sad. The winemaker Elrieda Pillmann continues to live out the dream she shared with her husband to create wine even though she does not drink it.

Bot River is part of the Cape country meander and falls within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. The town itself does not have much going for it but it is definitely worth a visit to have some wine and take in the beauty of the surrounding area.