Walking Tour 2:

Company’s Garden

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Tour Length: 3 hours

Tour Themes: XXXXXXX

Meeting Point: Mount Nelson Hotel (Specific details)

End Point: XXXXXXX

Fitness Level: Medium

Language: English

Price: R150

Starting Point

End Point

A Bit of Background

The Company’s Garden – VOC Populi

We continue our triumphant circuit through the psychogeography of this pearl of a peninsula right in front of the splendid Mount Nelson, returning to the centre of our Town for arguably the best heritage walk of them all! In fact, the walk itself is a piece of heritage, bridging in just 1 kilometre three centuries of pedestrian life at the outermost edge of this continent.

Government Avenue is, for most of us at least, the shady, sleepy shortcut separating the Labia from the lights of the CBD. But if you go through it with a sharp-eyed guide, you’ll rediscover it as the very first site of struggle in the West’s ‘domestication’ of Africa.

In fact, there is perhaps no single space in the world in which so many of the contradictions, traumas and romantic ideals of Colonialism exist side-by-side for the sake of our curiosity and critique.

From the rows of Northern Oaks first laid out by Simon van der Stel, to the plague of American squirrels imported wholesale by Cecil Rhodes, to the still-illustrious Cape Dutch temples that signify the South African birth-places of Formal Education, Botany, Painting, Natural Science, Bibliophilia, Warfare and Representative Government itself.

But along with that conservative clout comes a suppressed history of slow-building cosmopolitan citizenship. Along this strip is also the first official synagogue beneath the Sahara, the first monument of friendship with the people of Japan, the first truly global seed-market for exotic flora from every continent, and the site where Nelson Mandela first laughed while shaking P.W. Botha’s hand, celebrating a new covenant for a halfway-reconciled nation.

On top of all this, it is simply the street known and loved by the most South Africans throughout our epoch. So let’s join their tangible shadows for a loose, casual meander from the top to the bottom and back again, getting to know the heart and stomach of our city all along the way.

Bring your own water, sun-tan lotion and questions.

Archive Gallery

All photos, unless otherwise stated, are from the collections of Michael Fortune, Etienne du Plessis and the Cape of Diab group.

Our friends in Hout Bay

Reference Books for this Tour

 

  • Book 1
  • Book 2
  • Book 3
  • Book 4

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