Winter in Cape Town


OK – I confess, we do get winter in Cape Town.  In the last couple of weeks it must have rained at least twice and the temperature at night has plunged to as low as three degrees.  But even the weather succumbs to Cape Town’s laid back attitude.  As I write this, I am sitting in the sun under our lemon tree, thermal vest long since discarded.

So what has Cape Town been up to this last month?  While South Africans were getting thrashed overseas in the rugby and cricket, they were doing rather well back at home.  Surfers flew in from all over the world to take part in the Red Bull Big Wave Africa – an annual event when the waves at Dungeons off Hout Bay can tower up to 10 metres. All three top places were scooped by South Africans.  Nutters all, but we’re proud of them.

And we had Manchester United flying down to take on the two top South African teams in the Vodacom Challenge. They were beaten (hee hee) in the final by Kaizer Chiefs (no, not the band).  Giggs and Scholes were the only ‘names’, but no doubt Sir Alex is hoping to familiarise his boys with the sound of vuvuzelas and ululations before the World Cup is hosted by South Africa in 2010.

The Wives and Girlfriends had the chance to take in the Nokia Cape Town Fashion Week at the International Convention Centre (ICC).  It was HUGE this year, with 42 shows in two halls and over 38 000 eager spectators.  Fashion is definitely taking an African twist – watch this space.

Personally, I’ve been discovering just what good theatre there is to be found in Cape Town.  With the sundowner season briefly interrupted, Cape Town theatre has once again rolled up its sleeves and produced some world-class shows.

There was an international line-up at the Vodacom Funny Festival, but the biggest laughs were got by two Capetonians – Marc Lottering (right) and Riaad Moosa, neither of whom should be missed if you get the chance.  That was at the Baxter, a hugely impressive theatre hidden away in the southern suburbs and frequented by a wonderfully diverse crowd of students and, well, grown-ups.

The Artscape on the Foreshore has been hosting the London touring cast of Mamma Mia.  Abba Greatest Hits (you know, the one with the four of them sitting on the park bench) was one of four tapes we had in the car when I was a child. Like so many others, I wanted to be Agnetha when I grew up, so I was thrilled to be offered a seat right near the stage and the orchestra, where the music shimmied up through my boots and vibrated every bone in my body up through my beaming smile to my crocheted hat and scarf combo (actually not that last bit).

But the best show was at the Theatre on the Bay, a small, friendly venue with a great bar just a sandy-footed stroll from the beach at Camps Bay.  I confess to an alarming crush on Morten Harkett of A-ha in my youth (stay with me here). I think that Cito Otto may have the ability to inspire women across Cape Town into just such a frenzy.  He is all man and totally divine, and therefore an excellent choice to play the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar. Those tattoos appealed to me in a way that would not have been appreciated by the nuns at my school.  And bless him, he’s never acted before – his day job is as the frontman for one of SA’s top rock groups, Wonderboom.  Hallelujah what a find, and what an excellent show altogether.

Oddly enough, Jesus Christ Superstar was the second of the four tapes I remember from childhood.  The third was the Muppet Show Cast Album.  It is unlikely that Kermit and Miss Piggy will be heading this way soon, but as luck would have it I was able to see the characters from Sesame Street (here ’Takalani Sesame’) at the Baba Indaba (Baby Expo) at the ICC. They may not have starred alongside such superstars as Raquel Welch and Rudolf Nureyev, but Kofi Annan and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have both been guest stars, which is more than good enough for me.

The fourth tape of my childhood car journeys was the folk soulstress Nana Mouskouri.  Her songs reduced my mother to tears every time and, by default, us four children in the back seat.  It doesn’t look like she’s coming to Cape Town any time soon but frankly, that’s fine.  We’re busy enough – just look at that long list below!



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