Why we’re still here

The Covid 19 pandemic has hit tourism hard. The experts predict that 120 million jobs are at risk worldwide, and the economic damage can exceed $1 trillion – that is R14 885 200 000 000 – a figure no politician should attempt to put into words.

But as the world around us changes, whether for better or for worse or permanently, it’s safe to say that in tourism, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This phrase was first used in the 1840s by the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. It refers to the French Revolution and the state of politics in France at the time. Back then it was an apt description, as Karr was very cynical about any change occurring in France after back-to-back revolutions. Now, the saying has become a cliché best avoided when writing in English, but in tourism, we rely on things staying the same amid change. Like the French Revolution, certain things can’t go away. It happened.

And Cape Town is no different. In an ever-changing world, the Mother City will always have reminders of the part she played in South Africa’s history. From the existence of the Khoi San people, the oldest known tribe to mankind (they’ve been around for 30 000 years say the experts), to the arrival of the Dutch, right up to the release of Nelson Mandela, Cape Town was there, and though her story changes every day, it’s built on a past set in stone.

And why does it matter what happened a long time ago? Because history covers the past and the legacies of the past in the present. It connects us and events through time and reminds us of the strings that tie us to the map of life.

That is why we’re still around to share the history of one of the most beautiful cities in the world – a city not without problems and obstacles, but which city is? So, allow Cape Town Free Walking Tours to introduce you to the “oldests” and “firsts” in South Africa: the oldest known tribe to mankind, the oldest European structure, the oldest mosque, the oldest neighbourhood, Mandela’s first public appearance as a free man, our oldest tree, the first slaves to arrive, the country’s first vegetable garden, our oldest public space… the list continues.

Travel, explore, experience, walk a city… as they say, of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.