Cape Town: Southern charm
By FRANCIS ROGG with photos by GÉRARD PLEYNET
"Green Point! Clifton! Station!" the young man shouts as he leans out the minibus window. Just behind, an identical vehicle honks its horn, inviting people to travel to other destinations. It's rush hour for Cape Town's "black taxis". Never completely empty, these minibuses will take you anywhere you want to go for just R3.50 (€0.35) — if you don't mind spartan transport conditions and a style of driving that is adventurous, to say the least.
I dare to get in, and from then onwards, everything happens very quickly. We speed off, but almost immediately come to a sudden stop to pick up another passenger. Off we go again, down Strand Road and Adderley Street. We take the bend at Slave Lodge Museum on two wheels. Flying down Wale Street, I can just see the Anglican cathedral before we reach the turn-off to Greenmarket Square. "Thank you, driver!" I say before I stumble out, leaving the other passengers to their fate.
Surrounded by stylish houses, the marketplace is at the height of activity. Sellers of souvenirs, jewellery and second-hand clothes ply their trade here in a wonderfully friendly atmosphere. A Congolese man sells African masks. A charming Rastafarian has a selection of CDs spread out for sale. The Egg Man, a remarkable street artist from Benin, wanders around, wearing a bizarre, oversized hat.