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Captivating Experiences in Cape Town

February 5th, 2019, by Lucille Sive

Recently, I had the pleasure of traveling to Cape Town with Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel, Inc. and a group of travel trade partners. We spent 5 days in Cape Town and our trip was filled with wonderful events, performances and cuisine.

Here are a few of the highlights from my trip with images of our unforgettable experiences.

Table Bay Hotel

Situated on the historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, The Table Bay Hotel is positioned against the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. We were fortunate to have a wonderful choir called Isibane se Afrika and gumboot dancers from the township of Khayelitsha perform for us one evening. Their energy, spirit and performances were inspiring and beautiful!

Lucille Sive, TTC Africa Division CEO and Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel, Inc.
with gumboot dancers at The Table Bay Hotel

 

It was also wonderful to meet and interact with choir members and gumboot dancers and learn more about their aspirations. Isibane se Afrika means The Light from Africa. The choir’s mission is to be a force for good in their local township of Khayelitsha, to work with other people who want to do good, and to help build a positive future for the young people from their community.

Andisiwe Mbuje (holding microphone) with members from the Isibane se Afrika choir

 

Isibane se Afrika was created in 2000 by Andisiwe Mbuje who wanted to give young people from her township the opportunity to be part of something that makes a positive impact in their own lives and those around them.

Our group was so inspired by Isibane se Afrika and the gumboot dancers that members of our group started to collect donations that would go towards building an Arts and Culture Centre in Khayelitsha. The space will be a place for the choir to have proper rehearsals and a sanctuary for both choir members and the larger community.

Karibu

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Christo Brand and his wife, Estelle Brand in Las Vegas. Christo was Nelson Mandela’s ex-prison guard at Robben Island and also became his friend. He first met Mandela in 1978 when he was 18. In his book, Doing Life with Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend, Christo recounts the 12 years he spent with Mandela at Robben Island and how he went from being his prison guard to his confidant and collaborator. 

Lucille Sive with Christo and Estelle Brand

 

During this meeting, Estelle told us this wonderful story about her fruit cake and how much Mandela loved it.

Mandela had a very sweet tooth, so Christo had started buying chocolate, cookies (biscuits) and fruit cake for Mandela from the supermarket. One day he shared a piece of cake with Mandela and found it very dry. In an effort to satisfy Mandela’s sweet tooth, Christo smuggled some of his wife Estelle’s fruit cake into the prison for Mandela and he loved it. From that point on, It became Estelle’s famous cake. They made a plan that they could buy some regularly, because everything that came into the prison from outside had to have a receipt.

Christo put a paltry price on it, and marked it weighing a lot less than it actually weighed, as there was a maximum limit allowed for food stuff to be brought in, and this was a heavy cake. He brought his wife’s cake in regularly and it became a significance between him and Mandela. “Perhaps it represented a sharing of a tiny part of family life.” Even after Mandela was released, Estelle still baked it for him on his birthday and for Christmas.

Christo Brand meeting travel advisors at Karibu Restaurant

 

During our dinner at the beautiful Karibu Restaurant, set between the picturesque view of Table Mountain and the tranquil blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, we were fortunate to have Christo and Estelle join us once again. Christo spoke to our group and gave us insight into a different side of one of the world’s greatest leaders and the friendship that evolved during their time on Robben Island.

Estelle was also kind enough to share her famous fruit cake recipe, which you can also try baking.  

Zeitz Museum

On our last evening in Cape Town, we were thrilled to host a farewell reception at a special gala at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) which collects, preserves, researches, and exhibits twenty-first-century art from Africa and its diaspora.

Sherwin Banda and Lucille Sive at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA)

 

With Table Mountain as the beautiful backdrop for our evening, we were greeted with music played by a band called Blackroots Marimba – an incredibly successful women’s driven marimba band in the Western Cape region.

Member of Blackroots Marimba

 

We were fortunate to have an exclusive evening to view the cutting-edge art exhibitions followed by a beautiful dinner where we had a 270-degree view of Cape Town. 

Travel advisor viewing a piece by Misheck Masamvu, Memoirs of Childhood

 

There were many other unforgettable moments throughout this trip, but this experience was truly the perfect way to end our time in South Africa.

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