University of Cape Town, on the Cutting Edge

I got to spend a day at the renowned University of Cape Town here in South Africa and was impressed by a number of things. I believe the last time I was at a University building was when I was completing my Bachelors programme in the North of England.

The Lab I spent most of my day in

The University of Cape Town was a pleasant surprise. To my embarrassment, I’d never even heard of the University. Having spent only a couple of hours there I was wishing I knew this place existed when I was 19 years old and trying to decide where I would go to University.

Firstly, the University of Cape Town is located in the most stunning of settings with the formidable Table Mountain hovering over it.

Secondly, it is a very diverse University setting with over 100 nationalities represented as we were told by the Vice Chancellor, Mamokgethi Phakeng. The diversity is obvious as students of all colours course through the University’s buildings.

Mamokgethi Phakeng

Thirdly, interesting and much needed research is being held at the University. I spent the day within the Civil Engineering Faculty learning about research based on Water. I was at a lab using Urine (yes, you heard correctly) as it’s main base to find solutions to fertilisers and even sustainable building materials.

I now have my Bachelors and also my Masters degree. I do not plan on getting a Doctorate at the moment, but if I did, I would highly consider the University of Cape Town.

Cape of Good Hope

Today was a day of significance and firsts.

The significant bit is I got to the southern most part of the African continent today! I feel like such an explorer. The Cape of Good Hope is right at the tip of the continent and is spectacular to behold. It is characterised by furry, green hills on one side with ostriches and Elands. On the other side, it is bedazzled by the sea with crashing waves to boot. Jutting into the waters are layered rock formations.

In terms of firsts, I saw Ostriches. They are as intimidating as they seem on screens. Tall, nonchalant and feathered to a T!

Though not a first, it is worth commenting on. I witnessed a Baboon, with a baby Baboon on its back, wrestle some sort of cardboard object from a woman’s hands. It had attempted, and failed, to steal the woman’s handbag but succeeded in snatching the cardboard object instead. The theatrics of it all, amidst the dramatic beauty of the Cape of Good Hope, added a magical tone to the unfortunate incident.

Happy Birthday Madiba!

This day, 104 years ago, a hero was born. To think I get to reflect on the life of Nelson Mandela while in Cape Town, a few kilometres from where he was imprisoned for believing in the equality of all people regardless of skin colour, is definitely a humbling experience I never foresaw.

South Africa has never been on my list of countries to visit. I did not want to grapple with the reality of being on my continent but in a country where Black people still face prejudices…..on their own soil. This has always baffled me and made me super uncomfortable and as such avoidance felt best.

However, here I am now, due to the responsibilities of work, feeling grateful to be on the same soil that the great Nelson Mandela once trod. To be in the country that birthed him, on the day he was birthed, over a century ago..

The social stratification by skin colour is optically evident in Cape Town. There is much to personally unpack and understand about the past, present and future of this nation. Today, though, I choose to celebrate the legend that was born on this day.

The elixir of life and should one climb Table Mountain?

It’s a few days in the lovely Cape Town with my idyllic room looking up at the magnificent beauty that Table Mountain is.

Discussions with colleagues have naturally drifted to the topic of possibly hiking up Table Mountain, one of the most iconic jewels of South Africa. One of us is an avid climber who reassures me I am fit enough to hike the steep trail up in about an hour.

Thing is, I hate walking and hiking and prefer running. Running up the trail happens to be out of the question as the outcome will likely be me being evacuated by an emergency rescue flight. I however cannot pass up the opportunity to journey up the trail. Let see…

On other news, I got quite ill today, and I am now cooped up in my room till health is restored. In high spirits though, as I am certain health will be quickly restored and my adventures in the southern-most capital city in the world will re-commence! Triumph is inevitable!

Health Elixir

30 Days in South Africa

It’s absolutely atrocious that my last post was in 2020!

I have missed the pleasure of writing (almost) everyday.

However, I have had more reasons to put pen to paper than before (not that one needs a reason to soliloquise on paper!).

One of those reasons is Cape Town. This city is absolutely stunning and my window, fortunately, overlooks the back of Table Mountain. How can I not be inspired! And, rather unusual for me, I will be here for a long time. The longest I have been away from home since 2013.

A glimpse of outside my window

I am in the perfect location for capturing thoughts, musings and philosophisings.

A water fountain and it’s mountain companion

I am a bit rusty with this writing thing but I want to give it a go again and hope you’ll journey with me.

30 Days in South Africa