REMEMBERING RED HILL
Thursday’s hike was a walk through history. We began in the ruins on top of Red Hill, exploring the remnants leftover from the forced removal of a black settlement that occurred in the 1960s. As we took a moment to reflect on the steps of someone’s forgotten home, I could only imagine how it originally stood. The only pieces remaining to signify that there were once occupants in the area are broken walls and a cold fireplace, symbolising the effects of Apartheid. I was struck with a sense of sadness when I learned that the black community was forced from their homes only because they were inhabiting a territory designated as a whites-only area. Additionally, I felt frustrated and angry because I learned that afterwards, the white people never inhabited the empty homes; they never used the land once the black families were gone. Therefore, if they had no plan or use for the land, then there was no need to kick them out. Hence, I perceived this as an example of how much power the white people had during Apartheid. As a friend once said: “While non-whites had to go around, whites could just go straight through.”
Although nothing can be done to change the past, we can take the time to remember the past and try to preserve the memories of the past, and, in turn, preserve the memories of this lost city. One way of doing so was by participating in this historically rich hike.
This hike was not only a time to reflect, but it was as an opportunity to decompress and enjoy the beauty of nature. It was a scenic walk, with flowers of various colours covering the sides of the paths and hills surrounding you on all sides. Our path took us through the Kelinplaas Dam, where we had the opportunity to fill up our bottles with fresh Table Mountain water straight from sky (and it tasted delicious). Then, as we approached Kommetjie, we could see the ocean from the opening of the valley, a sign that we were almost there. Once we reached the bottom and the end of our four plus hours of walking, we celebrated with some delicious, and well-deserved, burgers. Overall, it was a well-led hike where we gained more awareness on the history of Apartheid and had the opportunity to explore more of Cape Town. If CIEE had not organised and offered this trip, I would have missed out on such a tremendous experience. I highly suggest for everyone who visits Cape Town to explore it for themselves.