On the 29th of September 2018, Africa Unite School club in partnership with South African National Parks and Mergence Investment Managers celebrated the end of heritage month through an educational tour of the Table Mountain. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate heritage month by educating, exposing and giving an opportunity to learners from disadvantaged communities to access national touristic and heritage sites which they usually just see from a distance or hear about. Africa Unite felt it was necessary to include nature as part of the heritage celebration to reconnect our cultures with the environment. Our surroundings impact the way in which we perceive the world, and they impact the way we interact with each other as well as people’s imagination. With this in mind, it was necessary for the learners to experience these sites in a way they would not otherwise have access to.
SAN Parks provided us with a bus for the day, and our driver was the wonderful Mezbah. Mezbah picked us at the Slave Lodge Museum in the city centre. From there we embarked towards Table Mountain. The day was beautiful and bright for Cape Town weather and all of the learners were very excited to go on top of the mountain as it was the first time for all of them. The day began with breakfast at Africa Unite’s office (6 Spin Street). The learners seemed to be pleased and excited to start the tour. It was fortunate that we had a patient and understanding chaperone for the day.
The learners had to wait in a very long queue for almost two hours to get in the cable car, this gave an opportunity for the leaners to get to know each other, socialize and enjoy each other’s company. While in the line, some learners started to share their anxiety and excitement with each other, as it was their first time going up the cable car and it would their first time being on to of Table Mountain. By the time we arrived in front of the line, the learners started giving each other words of encouragement, some even prayed with each other. This was an incredible thing to witness.
Aslam made the tour educational and interesting for the learners. They learnt about the 7 wonders of nature, the different species that live on Table Mountain and the different plants found on Table Mountain. Along the ‘hike’, Aslam managed to squeeze in a few historical facts about Table Mountain, from its discovery to when it was classified as a Heritage Site. Furthermore, the learners got an opportunity to ask questions. From their questions surrounding the reservoirs to questions about Devil’s Peak and the origin of the name; the ranger was amazed by the insightful questions that came up. When we arrived at the top, the learners, along with everyone, were amazed by the breathtaking view of Cape Town, the view of the ocean and the sheer beauty of Mother Nature. We met our Ranger for the day, Aslam Levy, who was travelling with two other rangers. He began by explaining to the youth the safety regulations and from there we began our ‘hike’ on the mountain.
Due to time constraints, we could not continue the tour as it was starting to get late. Though the tour was supposed to continue with visits to Signal Hill and Ouderkraal, the learners were very pleased about the Table Mountain tour and the group decided to return to Africa Unite’s office to enjoy a scrumptious lunch.
The tour was a great success and we are looking forward to organizing another like it. We are most looking forward to exposing other learners to experiences such as this, and, though the event could have been better if all the learners had arrived at the same time in the morning, as it would have eliminated the processes of having to wait for other learners to arrive; the day went smoothly and all the participants seemed satisfied.
We would like to thank South African National Parks for providing us with transportation for the day and access to Table Mountain. We would also like to thank Mergence Investment Company for generously providing us with funds for Breakfast and lunch. Moreover, we would like to thank Mezbah for being our wonderful and patient chaperone for the day. We would also like to thank Aslam and his group of rangers for providing us with such a fruitful tour of Table Mountain. Lastly, we would like to thank all the learners who got a chance to experience this with us and their teachers who were very helpful throughout the day.
Some remarks from the learners
“Everything was on point…. There are no complaints, there’s nothing more I can say” Alulutho from Masibane Secondary School
“The trip was great, we learnt a lot of things… we learnt a lot of things that I didn’t know about Table Mountain, the dams and the stuff that was actually kind of unexpected. Yeah it was fun and I enjoyed it a lot” Bennedette from Portland High School
“Today was amazing because I met new people and I learnt stuff about them and about the AU club and Table Mountain as well. We went to a place that I have never been before. It was a nice experience and I would love to do it again, and I would definitely do it again with AU as well” Shereen Gordan from Portland High school
As a newcomer at AU we really enjoyed it and we would like to join the AU club. We feel so welcomed here” Nicole from Portland High School
For more pictures of the event click here