June through August is winter in Cape Town, and winter is the wet season. For my first few weeks here, Cape Town was actually in the midst of a drought, which was bad, but also gave me a chance to experience a warm, sunny version of Cape Town when I arrived.
Yesterday, Cape Town acted much more like a typical winter by staying rainy and windy all day. Because outdoor activities were off the table, a few of my housemates and I took the rainy day as an opportunity to go into town and enjoy a few of the city’s indoor attractions.
We started out with coffee and lunch at Truth Coffee Roasting, a large, steampunk themed coffee shop in the center of town that is famous for being voted “World’s Best Coffee” by The Daily Telegraph. I ordered a delicious Resurrection Blend Mocha and can confirm that the coffee shop definitely earned the title. The steampunk theme also created a really cool and cozy atmosphere, and the mushroom gnocchi I had for lunch was fantastic. I look forward to visiting Truth Coffee many times before I leave to try all their different coffee bean blends, and also the assortment of cakes and pastries I was eyeing in the corner.
After lunch we walked a few blocks away to the Slave Lodge, a social history museum right outside of Company Gardens. From 1679 to 1811, The Slave Lodge was home to thousands of slaves owned by the Dutch East India Company. There the slaves were subjected to horrible living conditions that often resulted in death from lack of food, water, hygiene, or space. The bottom floor of the museum housed permanent exhibits about the history of slavery and apartheid in South Africa, while the top floor had various exhibits showcasing South African history and culture. There was also an exhibit dedicated to fighting to end the stigma that surrounds the AIDS epidemic in Africa and around the world.
The few hours we spent at the Slave Lodge were somber, informative, and a reminder of how important it is to remember history so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past.