Recently in Cape Town….
Kuyasa Project Khayelitsha
In his grey suit, with receding hairline and inimitable stance, seeing Prince Charles, even in the unlikely sandy streets of Khayelitsha is like coming across an old uncle. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wasn’t with him, just as well as the broken glass, and torn condom packs underfoot may not have suited her high heels.
HRH Prince Charles at Kuyasa's office
Charles was visiting Kuyasa, a pilot project settlement where solar and other sustainable devices – things as simple as insulated ceilings – have made RDP houses just a little bit more habitable. Not to mention environmentally friendly. Kuyasa Clean Development Mechanism managers Carol Wesserlink and Zuko Ndamane gave the Prince, head tilted listening with intent, a run down of the project, showed him a Wonderbag for energy-efficient cooking, and took him to meet home owner Victoria Guzi who invited the British Royal to look at her ceiling – the contrast of cultures, decor choices and language barrier would have been lost on no one. I wanted to hug Victoria as she struggled to understand the questions asked her by the pin striped British journalists who scurried in after the Prince and his entourage had moved on to find out what he’d said.
According to the Clarence House communications man, Paddy Haverson, the Prince himself has solar panels in both his British residences – Clarence and Highgrove Houses – and his keen interest in all things environmental is well-known. Zuko told me he’d been impressed with the Prince’s knowledge, especially when he talked about Bio-Gas. And when Carl said that his mum used to use a Wonderbag back in the Seventies, I wondered if Charles may have said that his did too. But he didn’t.
He waved royally though as he left in the smart car that ferried him to his next engagement – and the bemused residents were left wondering what that had been all about. But good to know that Kuyasa the project got the royal stamp of approval.
Mamma Solar - Shirley Desemda
And having won herself the title of Design Capital of the Year for 2014 (yes!), the Mother City had more cause for celebration on Friday night when she squeaked in last on the new list of the 7 Natural Wonders of Nature. Go Girl! Been a bit controversial it has to be said – with the ‘so-whatters’ asking who made money out of all this, and apparently the list is provisional and subject to change – but hey, if it puts Old Flat Top on the ‘bucket list’ of thousands more global travellers, can’t be bad. And how proud are we here living in it’s shadow to be up there with the Amazon, Halong Bay, Jeju Island, Komodo Island, Iguazu Falls and Puerta Princesa.
Table Mountain from the Bo Kaap Kitchen