(Editor’s Note: Ashley Michelle Williams, a news associate at NBC, is penning a series of blog posts about a recent trip to South Africa. Previous posts: Part I)
From the moment I finally realized that God placed it in my journey to go to South Africa, I was extremely excited and scared at the same time. I really, really didn’t know what to expect. I had all of these different notions about what the people would be like, how the weather was, and more.
Yet I was shocked at some of these misperceptions that I had.
For example, South Africa is actually pretty cold. They have a very cold winter that lasts the majority of the year since the country is relatively close to Antarctica (as compared to my home state of sunny California, of course!). There are actually 11 different languages and groups of people within South Africa. There is a language called Xhosa in which Africans make clicking noises.
I mean, the list goes on as to what I learned. But, one of the most important things I learned during my journey is how much I love Cape Town.
How should I describe Cape Town?
Well, it’s a mixture between Los Angeles and New York. It is very urban, but then there is a waterfront right in the city that makes you feel like you are on a beach. It’s absolutely beautiful.
There is a great collection of diversity within the city and there is just so much to do! From visiting different restaurants, from the shopping malls, from visiting Table Mountain, and from going to Robben Island, you are never left bored.
One particular part of the city I liked was the Green Market Square. The market is an area right in the middle of the city where vendors sell many beautiful African goods for great prices. You can even bargain with them to get better deals. The vendors are very nice and open to meeting people from all around the world. They come to this location early in the morning and place out all of their stuff and then they pack it all up. After 5 p.m., the market square is empty. This cycle continues every day. I found the market amazing.
Yet I think the real reason why I fell in love with Cape Town was due to the people. Everyone was just so kind, welcoming, and relaxed. Despite having the great pressures of work and more, people took time out of the week to have dinner parties, to get coffee, and to just enjoy life. It is something that I am constantly trying to get myself to do in the United States.
As much as I believe the historical context of Cape Town is very important and connects to the beauty of it, I also believe that it is the relationships that one can build there that really matter. It is definitely an ideal place for a family to visit while also learning so much about the South African culture. God-willing, I hope to have the opportunity to live in Cape Town one day, and I think I will.
I hope you will have the opportunity to visit Cape Town and to experience its beauty.