29 March 2020
Historical Cape Town

As Cape Town (and the rest of the world) experience lockdown I am spending the next 21 days writing short posts on some of the historical aspects of our city centre. This is something I have been meaning to do for ages, but while tour guiding the days run away. Now is the perfect opportunity […]

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25 July 2020
Rhodes Scholarship: First females offered to participate in 1977, and first Transgender female in 2019

Only in 1977 were females student finally afforded an opportunity to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship Progamme and out of 72 scholars selected, 24 were women. This was as a result of a number of changes all coming together at around the same time. Long serving trustees appointed to manage the programme who were all […]

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23 July 2020
Rhodes Scholarship: the original criteria for student selection

When Rhodes established his scholarship programme in 1902 (as laid out in his will), the criteria back then was very much different to what is required today. Rhodes, himself had been a student at Oriel College, Oxford, and firmly believed that these residential colleges were the perfect environment to engage future world leaders and form […]

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22 July 2020
Rhodes Scholarships: the concept

Towards the end of the 19th century/early 20th century, there were numerous scholarship programmes available, and they became collectively known as the "travelling scholarship". The British Empire viewed these scholarships as a mechanism to expand the British academic world, and for the student in the British settler colonies, an opportunity for an education abroad. The […]

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13 July 2020
St George's Cathedral: stained glass window (Angela Burdett Coutts)

Looking at the bottom row, the lady in the purple dress, one row in on the right hand side has earned her place in this magnificent window for her financial contributions to the Anglican Church. Angela Burdett-Coutts (1814-1906) became one of the wealthiest women in England when she inherited her grandfather's fortune, following the death […]

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9 July 2020
Sendinggestig, 40 Long Street, Oldest Indigenous Mission Church

One of my favourite buildings in Cape Town is Sendiggestig, 40 Long street and the oldest Mission Church in Cape Town. On our city tours to International visitors, time slips away and we never get a chance to include a stop here. This will change when we look forward to welcoming South African visitors from […]

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16 June 2020
Mr Abdullah Abdurahman: first black councillor in Cape Town

Dr Abdullah Abdurahman, is known as the first black councillor in Cape Town. On looking into his life, he was clearly so much more than this. I used to see thousands of tourists clicking away at picturesque buildings, not really paying attention to the portrait of the gentleman in the top right hand corner. Dr […]

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10 June 2020
Charles Freeman: architect in Cape Town

Events and buildings are often discussed on our private walking tours, but I think it is really important to focus equal attention people. The discovery of diamonds, a significant event which shaped the early part of the 20th century, lead to a significant wealth available to the Public Works Department having the funds to employ […]

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6 April 2020
Union-Castle Shipping line: how it all began

There are many people in Cape Town who have fond memories of the Union-Castle shipping line, either because they were lucky enough to travel on one of their ships, or because they brought their mail, comics and magazines from England. It certainly has an interesting history. In 1853 the Union Line was established (then called […]

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3 April 2020
The Opening of the Mount Nelson Hotel March 1, 1899

The grounds of the Mount Nelson Hotel have an interesting history, but today I will be looking at the opening day, March 1, 1899. Sir Donald Currie (knighted in 1881), founder of African Lands and Hotels Limited, (and owner of the Castle shipping line), purchased the grounds for 20,000 pounds and the title deeds were […]

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2 April 2020
Castle of Good Hope: The Beginning

One of my most common questions/comments is why our Castle of Good Hope does not look like a castle, but a fort? The very first castle was a square, and when Jan van Riebeeck left Cape Town (after ten years of service as the Governor), in 1662 for Batavia, he left behind an inadequate defense […]

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