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Posted on: Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Cape Town’s 25 commandments

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And so it was that Jan Van Hunks descended from his lair on the slopes of Table Mountain to hand down two tablets, and a bottle of bubbly, to the people of Cape Town. Thereon was a list of commandments wherefrom, it followed, that citizens of Cape Town live happy and full lives perched on the peninsula between two oceans. The tablets read …


Clouds over Table Mountain




1.  Know and be able to faultlessly relate the legend of the tabletop’s unusual cloud cover that describes the duel between the devil and the Dutch man Van Hunks. During the smoking competition that was to go on for days, the mountain would become covered in a thick blanket of smoke. Whether the devil collapsed in exhaustion or merely bent over in defeat, his hat fell from his head and his true identity was revealed. Both were said to vanish. But the blanket of cloud remains…(go figure).

2. Understand what ‘my broe’ means; and that May Bru is a South African apparel and accessory brand for the same reason.

3. Actively contribute to the impression that Capetonians are no longer laidback, dope-smoking, long-haired hippy types who drive slowly even in the fast lane. We’ve upgraded to creative, agency, movie producer types who drive Mini Coopers.

4. Consider yourself and other Capetonians as members of a rather exclusive club. You can’t help the fact that you live in one of the most desirable cities in the world.

5.  Only hike on the mountain when it is below 25 degrees. Unless you want to be stuck behind another forty people who have just discovered that hiking up the mountain involves, like, going up! And they left after 10am with only their shorts, vests, takkies (sneakers) and one bottle of water between them…

6.  Know how to parallel park on the hill on Kloof Street.

7.  Drive a BMW coupé, or a vintage vespa scooter, despite the fact that someone is going to try and steal it (or scratch it), at least once.

8.  Look aghast, horrified and downright p****d off when it rains during winter. No, it can’t be raining!! It doesn’t rain in Cape Town, does it?

9.  Sort your own recycling and drop it off at the local dump yourself, as Cape Town’s Think Twice programme only collects in certain suburbs. Otherwise you can pay to have one of several start-up recycling companies pick it up for you.

10. Absolutely head to &Union, based in Bree Street in a former church and house of ill-repute on the corner of Heritage Square, where they specialise in hand-crafted beer.

11. Live longer in Cape Town, if you’re a woman. Stats show that men in Cape town live on average to 54, whilst those in Tshwane live to 52. Women live up to 64, compared with 56 in Tshwane.

12. Shop for comestibles at organic markets, get your dog from an animal shelter, and send your children to a Waldorf or Montessori school.

13. Have a guest room or couch ready for visitors, because everybody LOVES Cape Town.

14. Wear slip slops to restaurants, clubs, when shopping, eating or even sleeping. Slip slops are the S**T.

15. Always be late. The term: ‘now, now’ has been especially coined for you. Make sure that if an invitation says 7.30pm that you only begin arriving after 8pm etc.

16.  Submit your child’s application to a southern suburbs’ private school the minute you know its sex.


This way to Cape Town




17. Ever, ever schedule a meeting of any description after one o’ clock on a Friday afternoon. Everyone who is anyone knows that even working Capetonians begin drinking beer at their desks after lunch.

18. Be surprised to find that no-one answers the phone when the surf is up (when the waves are just perfect for surfing and anyone with a surf board has hit the beach in Muizenberg, Llandudno or Long Beach).

19. Drive in the MyCiTi dedicated bus lane that connects the Airport with the V&A Waterfront, and Tableview, Oranjezicht, Sea Point and Salt River with the city centre, unless you are a commuter taxi. Then, of course, this rule does not apply.

20. Try to get a parking place around Newlands Cricket Ground whilst a One Day International is on, unless you are going to said cricket game. Because otherwise you could find yourself wanting to scream at someone.

21. Feel guilty about lighting a real fire in your fireplace. Whilst some people in other major cities around the world have had to content themselves with decorating theirs with candles, Capetonians can still have the real thing… for now.

22. Not be a Stormers supporter.

23. Even think about going to Kalk Bay on ‘Xmas Day.

24. Forget small change for self-appointed car gaadjies. It’s cheaper than an insurance claim.

25. Look surprised when you hear Cape flats swear words – ‘jou ma se moer’, ‘p__s’ and ‘jou gat’ is pretty standard street talk!


The Clouds


Wanda Coustas


Wanda Coustas has written in one form or another for 10 years, seven of them as a copyblogger. She has travelled the Western Cape extensively and the rest of the country in protracted road trips that have given her both joy and an ongoing relish for experiencing what she writes about first-hand. She is a trained opera singer, poet, eurythmy dancer, philosopher, and bee whisperer.

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