Cape Town is one of the country’s major cultural hubs bridging the gap between China and South Africa, so as we usher into the lunar New Year, it feels like a good time for Benn van der Westhuizen to take a look at some of the unique Chinese-inspired lifestyle movements in Cape Town.
Experience Chinese language and culture concepts with Huang Laoshi Mandarin Centre
The low down: Huang Lao Shi Mandarin Centre is renowned as a key resource for locals wanting to familiarise themselves with Chinese culture. The group takes pride in a personalised approach to tackling the intimidating Mandarin Chinese language, with private classes offered at your own pace, as well as group and corporate tutoring. So there’s no need for arthouse cinephiles to watch their favourite Zhang Yimou film with English subtitles next time!
The cultural hub also hosts a variety of immersive Cultural Event workshops. Founder and Taiwanese expat Tony Huang explains, ‘We are obligated to propagate the beauty of the traditional Chinese culture to South African people.’ Foodie fanatics can master the intricate art of Chinese dumplings with one of Nikita Huang’s cooking classes, and tea lovers can sip their way through a casual Tea Party afternoon while delving into the history of traditional tea appreciation.
They even offer an introduction to the dynamic visual dimension of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy. And for those looking to rev up their brainpower, the Chinese Chess class keeps you ahead of the mathematical curve.
The Huangs are exceptionally passionate about people. So their tutoring style remains wholly interactive while incorporating a subtle and invaluable foray into contemporary and traditional Chinese etiquette. These riveting events come highly recommended for individuals looking to expand their cultural awareness, and team-building groups alike.
Special Offer: The training centre is offering an 80% discount on their Private Tutoring Course trial language session. Duration of this session is 1 hour.
Indulge in the vast collection of Chinese tea at Ka Pa Tée
The low down: No scope into Chinese culture is complete without spotlighting the beauty of tea. After all, this brew is still deeply woven into the history and culture of China. Ka Pa Tée is a quaint and cosy gastro tea bar nestled in the heart of the CBD. The purveyors of fine and fragrant organic teas boast a swoonworthy selection of over 25 Chinese specialities. Some of the cult varieties include Pai Mu Tan, a delicate white tea. Pai-Mu-Tan, the gourmet of handcrafted Chinese teas, is exclusively cultivated in the mountainous Fujian province of China. But a firm favourite at this hotpot in Cape Town is the Jasmine-scented ‘Jasmine Bloom’ green tea. For a more urban flavour, opt for the ‘Gingery Lemony Sencha.’ You’ll get a refreshing lemon and ginger infusion without missing out on the vitamins and antioxidants of green tea. A tea appreciation tasting menu is also on hand for both keen novices or fundis. Five different teas are paired with decadent brownie options to satisfy the sweet tooth.
Ka Pa Tée is the brainchild of Diana George, a British expat, and Bruno Rabaca. And with that British dedication towards tea in mind, you can rest assured you’ll be in safe hands. The team undertook a meticulous curation process to filter only sustainable suppliers for their teas and stylish teaware. And because tea goes along with tranquillity, Ka Pa Tée’s interior space is laced with indie-chic contemporary decor motifs with a sanctuary touch. Ka Pa Tée is the ideal spot for me-time, or a casual catch-up with friends and family.
Address: 7 Church St, Cape Town CBD
Uncover the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine at The Acupuncture Clinic
The low down: With a history spanning over 3000 years, the ever evolving Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is not something to be scoffed at. This ancient medicinal concept views the human body’s vital forces as a landscape, and regards illness as a sign of imbalance. TCM is also renowned for troubleshooting a vast selection of ailments such as blood disorders, anti-ageing, stress reduction and immune system management.
Capetonians can now kickstart their health goals with key TCM treatments at The Acupuncture Clinic’s serene health studios. Leading the way at this alternative medical collective is dedicated and experienced TCM practitioner Dr Junaid Rawoot. Dr Rawoot offers personalised treatment plans following an initial 60-90 minute consultation session. Treatments may include a combination of Acupuncture, Cupping, Tui Na (a medical massage aimed to target specific patterns of disharmony), Moxa (or moxibustion) where a mugwort herb is heated and applied to the skin to improve blood and energy circulation, or Gua Sha, the rubbing of a smooth-edged Jade stone against the surface of affected skin. A herbal formula called Gui Pi Wan is often used as a supplement to promote healing. Some of the ingredients of this popular compound include a strain of ginseng, liquorice, ginger, Astragalus and Angelica root, Longan fruit, and Chinese dates.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a regulated industry in South Africa since 2002. All registered practitioners of TCM must be approved and meet a set of standards defined and governed by the Allied Health professions Council of South Africa.
Update your fitness direction at the Chinese Martial Arts and Health Centre
Martial arts in Cape Town remains one of the most popular ways of keeping fit. Those eager to combine both the practical and spiritual realms of this ancient craft need to look no further than the Chinese Martial Arts & Health Centre (CMAHC). Founded 33 years ago with branches in Observatory and Fish Hoek, this niche family training studio showcases a unique selection of famous martial art forms. The initiative is spearheaded by Marco Kavalieratos, one of the country’s most accomplished teachers.
CMAHC structures its Kung Fu classes around two major styles as an ode to traditional Chinese Kung Fu. Tap into your concentration level with the famous Hong Family Fist style martial arts. This medium employs defined arm techniques, weaponry and bestial imitation movements. With the Northern Shaolin Long Fist, a combination of bare-hand, posturing and classical weapons are used throughout training. But to get a comprehensive scope on martial arts, no roster would be complete without Tai Chi. The beauty behind this tranquil medium is the contrast of this calm and refined process against the muscular driven ‘hard style’. Qigong is another stylised yet relaxing medium available at the centre. Rooted in TCM and philosophy, the ‘Purple Cloud’ style on offer emphasizes active movement, rhythmic breathing and meditation.
CMAHC also offer fitness solutions aimed at those after a more simplified regime. Fu Fit’s accessible fast-paced sessions will shape your body, mind and spirit with a variety of high intensity physical training crafts. And the Tactical Kung Fu Training (TKT) programme will help participants master practical self-defence applications.
Special Offer: If you’re keen to give any of the classes a shot, CMAHC hosts a range of beginner and trial sessions throughout the year. Please enquire for more info.