Monthly Archives: November 2012

The theological seminary in Stellenbosch

The theological seminary in Stellenbosch
The Dutch Reformed Church's theological seminary was built on the site of the old local government building in Stellenbosch. The original building was erected in 1686, but it burned to the ground in 1762. Its replacement was built in the Cape Dutch style and served as a municipal building until 1827.

Only in 1859 did the Dutch Reformed Church convert the site into a seminary - which begs the question... what happened between 1827 and 1859? Please leave a comment if you happen to know! :)

Education takes you places

Education takes you places
I found this mural on the wall of a school in Cape Town's suburb of Bo Kaap - I think it was St Paul's Primary. The brightly-painted text next to the mural read "Education takes you places" - a useful daily reminder for kids of that age.

Table Mountain and the city bowl

Table Mountain and the city bowl
As the day wears on, the shadow of our mountain slowly creeps forward to remind those who live in the city bowl that the day is at its end. One of the down sides (perhaps the only down side) of living near Table Mountain is that sunny days are cut short far sooner than one would expect - which is arguably a good thing on the few stifling-hot days we have in the beginning of the year.

Spoornet’s springbok window

Spoornet's springbok window
Way back, when the railway systems were owned by the state, the company known today as Metrorail used to fall under the banner of the South African Railway Services, aka SARS. Then one day the South African Revenue Services (our income tax government department) decided that they wanted the name "SARS" and instructed the government privatise and change the name of the South African Railway Services. They were a bully, and so now the South African Revenue Services is know as SARS.

I'm lying about the reason for the privatisation, and the involvement of our tax department, of course. The little lie explains however how strange it is to some of us to see all the old trains and old equipment labelled "SARS", and I figured this may clear it up for those who weren't around at that time - no, SARS isn't in the business of owning trains. :)

Back then, since the rail services were owned by the government, it made sense to use the springbok (our national animal) as an emblem - hence the springbok on this old train window.

Running water, running boy

Running water, running boy
For some reason, it seems to me as though The Cape Quarter is a little hidden from the path that most tourists walk. It's a shame, because The Piazza and this, The Square, at De Waterkant's Cape Quarter is a very beautiful and very photogenic area. If you're visiting Cape Town, be sure to visit this spot - you'll thank me later. :)

Gourmet Boerie

Gourmet Boerie - why did it take so long?
Boerewors rolls (aka boerie rolls) are to South Africans much like burgers are to Americans, or pizzas to Italians - they're practically a staple food.

Boerie rolls have been sold at sports events, festivals, and even along side the road for about as long as South Africa's been South Africa. They're common at braais, and the perfect emergency meal for a Friday evening, when you really don't feel like cooking.

A friend and I visited the Gourmet Boerie (map) launch party on Saturday evening - and OMW, the food was outstanding. Boerewors rolls are normally cool, but Gourmet Boerie's extensive menu that includes gorgonzola, bacon, pecan nuts and rocket, with the choice of lamb, chicken, beef and ostrich sausage, along with the option of white, whole grain, or even rye rolls really takes the traditional braai meal to another level! It really was that good.

South Africans, don't you think it's strange that it's taken so long for a restaurant selling gourmet borie rolls to appear? I'm sure most of us would kick ourselves for not coming up with the idea first!

Flip the switch

Flip the switch
I found this open electricity box on one of the buildings in Loop Street. It's weird that it's been left so open and accessible. Perhaps someone recently vandalised the cover, and perhaps it's already been fixed.

You have no idea how tempted I was to flip a few of these switches.

Jo’burg in Long Street

Jo'burg in Long Street
It's a little ironic for a bar in Cape Town to be called Jo'burg - well, at least I think it's ironic. Anyway, reports have it that Jo'burg is one of the noisier bars at the top of Long Street - very vibey, and filled with a diverse group of young people who are out to party.

I've often seen the bar, but I can't say that I've ever felt the desire to visit. Noisy and cramped bars aren't my scene, you know. Well, that's me, but if you're visiting Cape Town and want to get a feel for the local bar scene, then this may be a place to start.

If you visit this area at night, take care - while the top part of Long Street is reasonably safe, this is a city... so keep an eye out, and avoid weirdos - okay? :)

Loop and Buiten Street

Loop and Buiten Street
In my previous post I asked for you to guess where I'd taken the photo. Well, it was right about here, on the corner of Loop and Buiten Street - which quite close to the top of Loop.

If you're looking for a quiet coffee-shop-type restaurant, there's quite a nice coffee shop and bakery (that sells great cakes) right about here. I can't recall the name, but you can't miss it - it's not like there are a lot of restaurants in this part of Loop Street. :)

DAL’s Deer Park mural

Deer Park mural
DAL, a public space artist, was born in China and started with his first public works in 2004. Since then he's graced Cape Town with a few murals, including this one at Deer Park - just below Deer Park Café. Click on the pics below to see larger versions, and click through to DAL's own site to browse through his other works - they're extraordinary!

Red and blue

Red and blue
I found this makeshift corrugated wall of iron separating pedestrians from a building site in Commercial Street, between Buitenkant and Harrington (map). They could have left the wall a dull grey colour, but instead decided to make it look more awesome. Isn't that nice? :)


He entered the room like a Don Juan; cool, calm, collected. Two hundred eyeballs fixed on his every move as he stepped up onto the table. He lay down as though he owned the room.

Joseph is a 10-year-old male cheetah who lives at Cheetah Outreach in Somerset West. Cheetah Outreach is a local conservation and education organisation that serves to save Cheetahs in the wild by educating the public.

Wild cheetahs are often killed by farmers who are forced to protect their livestock from these predators. Most of the funds raised go towards their Anatolian Shepherd Guard Dog programme which places the dogs on farms to ward off cheetahs, and in so doing dissuade farmers from hunting the cats.

If you'd like to get involved, or support Cheetah Outreach in some way, visit their website for a list of ways in which you can help.

Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town

FIsh Hoek and Simon's Town
I took this photo while heading from Simon's Town to Kalk Bay. The small town that you see closest in the photo is known as Fish Hoek, and the one in the distance, on the left, is Simon's Town.

This side of the peninsula is completely different to the Atlantic Seaboard (ie. the Sea Point / Camps Bay area), and in some way reminds me of a few of the small sea-side fishing towns that we visited in Brittany, France.