We took a township tour of Nyanga, and ate at a legendary outdoor restaurant, Mzoli’s. Our afternoon was filled with South African music, as we shared a workshop with composer, Bongani Magatyana, who directs several community choirs in the township.
We celebrated early mass at the Norbertine church in Kommetjie, then followed the priest to his second congregation at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church. The two congregations were very different, but each very welcoming.
That afternoon, we made preparations for individual home stays with community members from the Guglethu township. Beginning with dinner at a host member’s home, we shared food and singing with our host families. Then, in pairs, we headed off to individual homes in some of the poorest neighborhoods in South Africa. Though some of the host families had very little, they shared their homes and their experiences with us, and it was a very moving learning adventure for all of us.
Here is a link to a YouTube video of the last two pieces that we performed at the second mass:
On day three, we visited the Slave Lodge – a museum built in and dedicated to the former institution that held and sold slaves in Cape Town. We passed through St. George’s Cathedral and several of us walked the labyrinth in the courtyard, reflecting on the morning’s experience.
We saw another small museum containing artifacts from earlier settlers of Cape Town, before lunching at Biesmillah’s in Bo-Kaap neighborhood, sampling curried and wonderfully flavored dishes.
Then, to St. Andrew’s church, the former pastorate of our guide, Marius. There, we had a music workshop with Grant Brasler, the director of music and organist at St. George’s Cathedral for four decades.
A gray, rainy ride to Robben Island introduced us to the prison island where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held in terrible conditions. After such nice weather in Cape Town, the day seemed suited to our visit – which was highlighted by a tour guide who was, himself, a former inmate of the place. Lunch on our own at the waterfront, afterwards, followed by our first full public concert at St. Andrew’s Church – one of the oldest churches in Cape Town, and popular venue for classical music concerts. We were warmly welcomed by the audience, and the wine and cheese reception hit the spot.
After dinner, many of us went our separate ways – some to bed, some to local pubs and some to a jazz club in the crypt of the St. George Cathedral! A full day!
The group enjoyed another beautiful bus ride with a stop at a local beach to dip our toes in the ocean & collect a few shells. On to the Cape of Good Hope! After a very steep hike up we were treated to the most spectacular view. We then ventured on a mountain hike to another point through the beautiful native plant life. Marius is a wonderful tour guide! Pointing out places of interest and the history of these places, most important, how to be safe in Africa. If a baboon was to approach us we were to hand over our backpacks, wait for them to find any food & then we could go retrieve them! Don’t tangle with a baboon! We had lunch at a local picnic spot were men were armed with sling shots to keep the baboons away while we ate. We did see a couple foraging for food in the fields before we left. A couple of ostrich dined with us also. Back on the bus to see some of the cutest penguins at Boulder Beach. After supper at the hostel the group held a rehearsal outside in a back alley around an old chevy. It was loads of fun with other foreign travelers joining in!
Good Day! I have to apologize for the late start on postings. Not sure if I should blame it on jet lag or just plane “hit the road running!” We have been busy! On Wednesday (day 1) we visited the Norbertine Abbey via a breathtaking bus ride. The group had lunch and a workshop with Nic Patton, musicologist and grandson of Alan Patton, author of Cry The Beloved Country). Although very tired our students did a wonderful job!