Capetonians are notoriously cliquey. I was born in Johannesburg where I lived for seven years before moving to Cape Town. When I was 19 I headed for the big bad US of A where I spent a year in Philadelphia, Boston and New York collectively as well as two years in Texas. So, these being my only other points of reference I can safely conclude that yes, Cape Town is cliquey.

While travelling through America I discovered that its people are infinitely more open minded and inclusive when it comes to socializing. We generally stick within our circle of friends and very rarely venture out of our comfort zones.

I interviewed Charles John recently and he offered me an entirely different point of view.

I asked him if he thought Cape Town was cliquey, he replied:

“Yes and no. Yes in the sense that obviously people hang out in cliques, but no in the sense that you can’t really call it cliquey because it’s the nature of human kind to surround ourselves with people similar to us. It’s the process of natural selection. We stay in herds, we need to be around people that in case danger arises that we’re around people that we’re safe with, you know, you don’t want to be around people and 90% of those people run away from their comfort zone, and leave you stranded. So, being in a clique is negative in a social way, but in a human way it’s the most natural thing.”

I agree with what he says, and yes there is this innate human truth that is impossible to ignore, but somehow we take it to another level – especially white people. It’s as if each of our cliques live in separate villages, governed by unconscious social codes.

Cape Town is a lot more segregated than other cities in South Africa. Why is this so? What is it about us that makes us so damn exclusive within our tribes?

 ///          Why do Inner-City Hipsters never hang out with trance koppe? Why do the Rock-Chic avoid Irie-vibing Hippies like syphilis? Why do Constantia Boytjies spend so much time working on their abs? Why do Brasse vannie Flats never hit Long Street, even though they shmaak white chicks? Why do Southerners rarely venture past the Boerewors Gordyn?       ///

“In spite of our social progress over the past 20 years Cape Town remains a culturally divided city. Cultures and even subcultures remain insular and exclusive.”  – Wendy Moorcroft

Social and cultural groups remain separate. This applies to all groups: Cultural, ethnic, racial, religious and class. Now, these structures grip the entire world, not only Cape Town. We’ve been conditioned from birth to believe that we’re separate from each other. We’ve created film, media and music which has shaped stereotypes; religions have created vacuums of separation; money has built class structures; our skin colour creates illusions of separateness. These constructions are universal.

So then, it’s got to have something to do with the way Cape Town is laid out – the very mountain, the goddamn seventh wonder of the world which we all adore could just be the thing that has planted an imaginary barrier within our minds.

Segregation is usually always seen as a hindrance to societal advancement, but there is also a flip side to all of this. Creativity at its very core thrives on polarity; it thrives on the perpetual drive to transcend reality. The very fact that we are so cliquey is also a reason for why we’re known as The Creative Capital of the World. Jeez man, I love this city.

I’ll be running a bulldozer through our collective psyche to uncover, once and for all what makes Cape Town clique, and what makes Cape Town tick.

This is a party and everyone’s invited. Take a stab. Take a stance. Wys me. I invite you on my quest to discover what lives Under the Culture.



TEDx Youth @ Cape Town took place on Saturday, 26 May 2012.

Dayaan Salie, a 16 year old boy from Cape Town gave us all something to chew on. What he has to say is vitally important for all of us:

Tedx Youth @Cape Town 2012 – 16 year old Dayaan Salie speaks to a nation: “Africa, In Me?”

TEDx Cape Town is still happening. The next event will take place at the Baxter Theatre on Saturday, July 21 2012. The theme is: “What We Play Is Life.

It’s an honor to have TEDx grace our shores. When it comes to global thought leaders nothing comes close to what TED offers – in terms of spreading ideas and conversations globally. I have a feeling that applications have closed, however if you want to find out whether you can still speak at TEDx then apply via the TEDx Cape Town site here: 

Spread your idea.

If you want to be a part of the cutting-edge of ideas via osmosis, then book your tickets through the TEDx Cape Town website. Tickets for the main auditorium are sold out, but tickets for the live video feed, which takes place in a room adjacent to the event – are still available. The cost is R275 p/p. A light lunch and refreshments will be served. There will be live entertainment and you will have access to the speakers during breaks. Parking is available. Book now.

Book here.

For those of you that can’t make it, I’ll keep you updated.


Die brasse.

AFRIKAAPS: The Kaapse/Cape Town dialect of Afrikaans.

“Kom Khoi San kry terug jou land, coloreds kom from Khoi San verstand.”

Afrikaaps is a documentary film about the theatre production of Afrikaaps that set out to tell the truth behind the origin of Afrikaans, and succeeded.

See the trailer here: http://youtu.be/DYifENqE3hU

For all of us who live in Cape Town, I feel it’s imperative that we all see this film. It will help us appreciate the richness of our culture and add a new level of understanding in our everyday interactions.

Sien tsjy, black men and women in South Africa have been given every opportunity to find catharsis – to heal from the struggle. But Coloreds have been forgotten, their culture is stereotyped as gangster, their language is sidelined.

“In modern South Africa Afrikaans is generally seen as a European language, however there is a side to this language, a Creole birth of Afrikaans that has been suppressed and overlooked for centuries.”       – Dylan Valley

When a colored goes for a job interview, he/she has to watch their tongue. If they speak in Kaapse Afrikaans they are burned at the stake. They are crucified. They are stereotyped as a gangster. They are made to feel inferior. So they change their accent when they go in to impress the white man.

The brown man” carries the brunt of the struggle in this country. They are not given the recognition they deserve. They needn’t hold that shame anymore.

In Cape Town we do not honour the pain that coloreds have had to endure so us white people can move up the food chain. Coloreds are the workhorses; they keep the cogs of Cape Town turning.

They weren’t given an opportunity to heal until Dylan Valley and his crew decided to tell their story.

Afrikaaps did something that defies gravity; they did something so utterly ballsy – they took Afrikaaps, the ensemble that represented everything that the traditional stuck-up Afrikaners always frowned apon, to the Grahamstown Festival. They blew the lid right off.

Get yourselves a copy of the DVD.

For more info visit their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/afrikaaps 

“I would make excuses when I spoke Afrikaans. I’d say: Listen, excuse me, my Afrikaans is a little messed up. But now I make no excuses. This is how I speak. Take it or leave it.” – Emile Jansen


Directed and filmed by Dylan Valley.