Cape Town: South Africa’s true gem

Founded by Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 as a post for the Dutch East India company after discoveries by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1486 and Vasco da Gama sighting the Cape of Good hope in 1497, Cape Town is a miracle of a city. Constructed on beautiful, lush green hills and a protected nest for the African penguin (also known as the Donkey penguin due to its ‘Bray’ voice). Once plagued by AIDS and Crime, owing to the group areas act following the institution of Apartheid, it nevertheless transformed itself as the pearl of Africa and South Africa.

Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on the Cape of Good hope

Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival on the Cape of Good hope

The Dutch settlers (Afrikaners) under Jan van Riebeeck traded tobacco, copper and iron with the Khoikoi in exchange for fresh meat. In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck and other employees of the Dutch East India Company (Dutch name: Verenigde Oost-indische Compagnie, VOC) were sent to the Cape to establish a way-station for ships travelling to the Dutch East Indies (Modern day Indonesia) and the Fort de Goede Hoop (later replaced by the Castle of Good Hope). The settlement grew slowly during this period, as it was hard to find adequate labor. This labor shortage prompted the authorities to import slaves from the Dutch East Indies and Malagasy (Today, Madagascar). Many of these became ancestors of the first Cape Coloured (Mixed race of paternally white and maternally black) communities. Under Van Riebeeck and his successors as VOC commanders and later governors at the Cape, an impressive range of useful plants were introduced to the Cape – in the process changing the natural environment forever. Some of these, including grapes, cereals, ground nuts, potatoes, apples and citrus, had an important and lasting influence on the societies and economies of the region.

However, this Dutch sponsored prosperity was short lived. the British captured the Cape colony in 1795 following France’s occupation of the Netherlands during the Napoleonic and French revolutionary wars. However, following the signings of the Anglo Dutch treaty in 1814 and a mass exodus of the Afrikaners. Expansion came in 1872 with a separate parliament and a prime minister for the Cape Colony. With South Africa achieving independence in 1910, Cape Town became the executive capital.

Cape Town panorama from table mountain: a beautiful city nested within the mountains

Cape Town panorama from table mountain: a beautiful city nested within the mountains

District Six: a former apartheid designated area for Coloreds and Asians.

District Six: a former apartheid designated area for Coloreds and Asians.

Cape Town survived apartheid and group areas act of 1960, survived aids and rampant crime, to blossom into the pearl that it is today. Though it lags behind many international cities and Gini coefficient was at 67%, it nevertheless fares better than other South African cities and is a gamma world city. it was named world design capital for 2014 and the movie “Safe House” starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds was shot in Cape Town. It also was a host city for the 2010 FIFA world cup, with the Green point stadium chosen to represent Cape Town. Between 2001 to 2010 the city’s Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, improved by dropping from 0.59 in 2007 to 0.57 in 2010 only to increase to 0.67 by 2011/12. Despite this increase, Cape Town’s Gini coefficient remained the lowest of any large city in South Africa and the Human development stands at 77% compared to national average of 65%.

Cape Town has recently enjoyed a booming real estate and construction market, because of the 2010 World Cup as well as many people buying summer homes in the city or relocating there permanently. Cape Town hosted nine World Cup matches: Six first-round matches, one second-round match, one quarter final and one semifinal. The central business district is under an extensive urban renewal programme, with numerous new buildings and renovations taking place under the guidance of the Cape Town partnership.

Panorama of Cape Town

Panorama of Cape Town

Cape Town’s beaches are one of the world’s finest and are home to the African penguin. each year around 320,000 tourists visit the city for its picturesque beaches, African penguins, holiday apartments sales have boosted in recent years and so has investment in the real estate and other sectors. The water temperatures of Cape Town’s beaches average 16-17 degrees centigrade, thanks to the Benguela current. However, False bay beaches at eastwards of the city are a bit warmer due to the Agulhas current, originating from the southern Indian ocean.

Clifton 4th beach, Cape Town, South Africa.

Clifton 4th beach, Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape Town is the economic hub of the Western Cape Province, South Africa’s second main economic centre and Africa’s third main economic hub city. It serves as the regional manufacturing centre in the Western Cape. In 2011 the city’s GDP was US$56.8 billion with a GDP per capita of US$15,721. In the five years preceding 2014 Cape Town GDP grew at an average of 3.7% a year. As a proportion of GDP the agriculture and manufacturing sectors have declined whilst finance, business services, transport and logistics have grown reflecting the growth in specialized services sectors of the local economy. Fishing, clothing and textiles, wood product manufacturing, electronics, furniture, hospitality, finance and business services are industries in with Cape Town’s economy has the largest comparative advantage in.

Main sectors of Cape Town's economy.

Main sectors of Cape Town’s economy.

Western Cape's(where Cape Town's situated) GDP growth over the years

Western Cape’s(where Cape Town’s situated) GDP growth over the years

Western Cape province as compared to other South African provinces

Western Cape province as compared to other South African provinces

Cape Town central business district

Cape Town central business district

Bellville, Cape Town.

Bellville, Cape Town.

Cape Town has four major commercial nodes, with Cape Town Central Business District containing the majority of job opportunities and office space. Century City, the Bellville/TygerValley strip and Claremont commercial nodes are well established and contain many offices and corporate headquarters as well.

Century City, Cape Town

Century City, Cape Town

Most companies headquartered in the city are insurance companies, retail groups, publishers, design houses, fashion designers, shipping companies, petrochemical companies, architects and advertising agencies (JWT, Leo Burnett and LOWE are some of them). The most notable companies headquartered in the city are food and fashion retailer Woolworths, supermarket chain Pick n Pay Stores and Shoprite, fashion retailer Foschini Group, multi-national mass media giant Naspers, and financial services giant Sanlam.

Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa.

Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa.

Other notable companies include Belron (vehicle glass repair and replacement group operating worldwide), CapeRay (develops, manufactures and supplies medical imaging equipment for the diagnosis of breast cancer), Ceres Fruit Juices (produces fruit juice and other fruit based products), Coronation Fund Managers (third-party fund management company), ICS (was one of the largest meat processing and distribution companies in the world), Vida e Caffe (chain of coffee retailers), Capitec Bank (commercial bank in the Republic of South Africa). The city is a manufacturing base for several multi-national companies including, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Levi Strauss & Co., Adidas, Bokomo Foods, and Nampak.

Cape Town Stadium, also known as the Green point/Mouille point stadium

Cape Town Stadium, also known as the Green point/Mouille point stadium

African Penguin

African Penguin

Thanks to the addition of the Green Point stadium at the Cape Town waterfront, the IAAF hosts a lot of athletic tournaments here in Cape Town. such developments have made the African National Congress (A.N.C) party jealous. who’s the force behind Cape Town? scroll below 🙂

Democratic Alliance President Helen Zille at a demonstration

Democratic Alliance President Helen Zille at a demonstration

Democratic Alliance President Helen Zille at a demonstration

Democratic Alliance President Helen Zille at a demonstration

Democratic Alliance

Democratic Alliance

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Helen Zille, D.A President with Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille (center) and a party member.

Helen Zille, D.A President with Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille (center) and a party member.

The Democratic Alliance, under the dynamic leadership of Helen Zille has helped transform Cape Town from an Apartheid dumping ground into a gem of the Western Cape. an economy far advanced than any other South African city, Millions of Rands well spent on Public infrastructure and business, Cape Town is rising. Cape Town is a shining pearl, and despite the incidents of murder in surrounding Cape Town suburbs rising it has maintained a good status.

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Wildfire in table mountain, Cape Town. Dated: March 7th, 2015

The recent wildfires are the first of their kind and however, a lot of loss property has been reported. though the firefighters of the western cape are controlling the fire, this incident has highlighted the rapid action of services in Western Cape province of South Africa. Had this happened in Durban or Johannesburg (God Forbid), apocalypse would have touched South Africa.

View of Cape Town central business district.

View of Cape Town central business district.

Taxis at a terminal in Mitchell's plain, Cape Town.

Taxis at a terminal in Mitchell’s plain, Cape Town.

Bo-Kaap, Cape Malay residential area.

Bo-Kaap, Cape Malay residential area.

Mitchell's plain, a suburb of predominantly colored people/

Mitchell’s plain, a suburb of predominantly colored people/

University of Western Cape hospital, Mitchell's plain branch.

University of Western Cape hospital, Mitchell’s plain branch.

Medical services in Cape Town are also of the highest order. Dr. Christiaan Barnard who performed the world’s first heart transplant was a resident of Cape Town. apart from that, most of South Africa’s media personalities call Cape Town their home. When most of South Africa is ridden in crime & corruption, Cape Town is the last resort.

Several newspapers, magazines and printing facilities have their offices in the city. Independent News and Media publishes the major English language papers in the city, the Cape Argus and the Cape Times. Naspers, the largest media conglomerate in South Africa, publishes Die Burger, the major Afrikaans language paper. Cape Town has many local community newspapers. Some of the largest community newspapers in English are the Athlone News from Athlone, the Atlantic Sun, the Constantiaberg Bulletin from Constantiaberg, the City Vision from Bellville, the False Bay Echo from False Bay, the Helderberg Sun from Helderberg, the Plainsman from Michells Plain, the Sentinel News from Hout Bay, the Southern Mail from the Southern Peninsula, the Southern Suburbs Tatler from the Southern Suburbs, Table Talk from Table View and Tygertalk from Tygervalley/Durbanville. Afrikaans language community newspapers include the Landbou-Burger and the Tygerburger. Vukani, based in the Cape Flats, is published in Xhosa.

Cape Town is a centre for major broadcast media with several radio stations that only broadcast within the city. 94.5 Kfm (94.5 MHz FM) and Good Hope FM (94–97 MHz FM) mostly play pop music. Heart FM (104.9 MHz FM), the former P4 Radio, plays Jazz and R&B, while Fine Music Radio (101.3 FM) plays classical music and jazz. Bush Radio is a community radio station (89.5 MHz FM). The Voice of the Cape (95.8 MHz FM) and Cape Talk (567 kHz MW) are the major talk radio stations in the city. Bokradio (98.9 MHz FM) is an Afrikaans music station. The University of Cape Town also runs its own radio station, UCT Radio (104.5 MHz FM). The SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) has a small presence in the city, with satellite studios located at Sea Point. e.tv has a greater presence, with a large complex located at Longkloof Studios in Gardens. M-Net is not well represented with infrastructure within the city. Cape Town TV is a local TV station, supported by numerous organisation and focusing mostly on documentaries. Numerous productions companies and their support industries are located in the city, mostly supporting the production of overseas commercials, model shoots, TV-series and movies. The local media infrastructure remains primarily in Johannesburg.

Panorama of Hout Bay, Southern tip of Cape Town.

Panorama of Hout Bay, Southern tip of Cape Town.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Northern Cape Town.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Northern Cape Town.

Knightsbridge apartments, Century city, Cape Town

Knightsbridge apartments, Century city, Cape Town

University of Cape Town. Table mountain in background

University of Cape Town. Table mountain in background

Cape Town has nine twin towns and sister cities:

Country City Established
Germany Aachen 2000
Israel Haifa 1975
China Hangzhou 2005
Mozambique Maputo
1994
France Nice 1974
Russia Saint Petersburg 2001
Portugal Funchal
1995
Angola Luanda
1997
Belgium Antwerp
1996

I myself am hopeful that Cape Town will rise above all and will help end South Africa’s problems. I vouch for the democratic alliance to rule South Africa and help the Republic return to its glory days. Living in Cape Town is not exactly paradise but is decent living, and the city has achieved greater status as compared to other South African cities.

All the best for Cape Town, South Africa 🙂

(Sources: wikipedia, BBC, SABC, Naspers, Google and The Cape Times)

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