Cape Town & race – Oceans apart
Cape Town’s beaches are among the most beautiful in the world.
Yet it is among the pristine white sands and turquoise waters that one is reminded that this is a diverse nation whose rainbow colours are bright, bold and very distinct.
While the Slegs Blankes signs have long been removed, a trip to some of the Western Cape’s most popular beaches reinforces what the locals say: everyone’s cool, but Cape Town’s different race groups tend to stick to the beaches they know best.
Ironically, these are the beaches they were ‘assigned’ in the days of apartheid.
Babalwa Shota asked Capetonians which beaches they go to, and whether the shifting sands of time have made any difference.
Here’s what they said...
Kim Maregele (22)
Ifrequent blue-flag beaches such as Muizenberg and Strandfontein. I also like Camps Bay and Gordon’s Bay.
We choose these beaches based on two things – what time of day we visit and water temperature. Camps Bay is normally colder than Gordon’s Bay in summer – same with Strandfontein and Muizenberg.
I don’t believe there’s segregation on our beaches. People go to beaches they are familiar and comfortable with.
Sometimes people are forced to drive far out because the beaches closest to them are full.
But just as many people decide to stay on the overcrowded ones because they’d rather not waste petrol just for a swim.
Abongile Kobe (20)
I like going to Muizenberg because it’s where my family went during the festive season.
I grew up visiting that beach. I don’t believe there is some form of apartheid on Cape Town beaches; it’s just Capetonians who don’t explore unfamiliar places.
People don’t go to beaches that are out of their comfort zones.
Tamsyn September (23)
Clifton 4th Beach and Camps Bay are my regular beaches and, yes, I believe there is segregation on our beaches. People tend to go where there is less police visibility.
They also flock to beaches that are on the main taxi routes.
But mostly, I think the segregation is still because of apartheid. Blacks and coloureds feel comfortable on the beaches where they were “allowed” back then.
Taryn Hurling (28)
I’m not a beach bum, but I enjoy going to Gordon’s Bay. It’s beautiful, not too far from home and they sell really good ice cream.
I haven’t experienced segregation on the beaches since I was a child.
I think certain people prefer certain areas because of location and not because it’s a cultural gathering spot.
Kathrine Taylow (54)
Ilove Hout Bay as I can go for lovely long walks with my dogs. There seems to be segregation on certain beaches.
If you go to Clifton and you’re not white, you would feel a bit uncomfortable. Muizenberg is more on the black side so you would be uncomfortable if you were white.
Eric Evans (55)
I go to Blouberg Beach for the kites. The view is also nice because there are not a lot of buses and such.
Camps Bay is segregated, but only during weekends as everyone from Transkei is visiting in buses and taking over.
Bongiwe Shota (40)
I grew up going to Muizenberg and Strandfontein, where there are blacks and coloureds. Our beaches are definitely segregated.
Black people are now slowly trying “white” beaches, especially during the festive season. Interestingly, this is the time fewer white people go to the beach.
I think they vacate the beaches in December because they feel uncomfortable around a large crowd of black people.
Wayne Ronne (27)
Imostly go and relax at Fish Hoek beach. My mother spent her youth down there and so did her mum. It’s got a restaurant and it’s secluded.
Most of my friends are coloured and we go to Dalebrook in Kalk Bay or Strand.