Cape Town, South Africa

Table Mountain ramparts

Cape Town as seen from Table Mountain.

Kap Staad was a resupply station for the ships of the Dutch East India Company transiting between Holland and the Dutch East Indies. The company was adamant that there would be no settlement beyond its walls, but on any voyage there would be stragglers waiting for the next boat. Some of these folks decided to stay. Sensing opportunity, an enterprising lady opened a boarding house just outside the walls. Her renters thus became the first residents of Cape Town, the Mother City.

This superb diorama shows Cape Town in 1800. It illustrates the city’s dramatic setting in a bowl flanked by Table Mountain, on the left, and the spur ridge from Lion’s Head to Signal Point. The company gardens are seen as darker green blocks adjacent to the settlement, represented in white. The coastal fortifications including the five-pointed Castle of Good Hope and Chavonne’s Battery are shown, as well as the brown expanse of the parade grounds.

Nobel Square, near Chavonne’s Battery at Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Docks, honors South Africa’s four Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Former ANC president Albert Luthulu, left, received his award in 1961, the first African to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was awarded the honor in 1984 for his courageous stand against apartheid. Former presidents F.W. DeClerk and Nelson Mandela received the award in 1993 for bringing to an end the odious system of racial separation.

Cape Town as seen from Table Mountain. Signal Hill is at left center, while Robben Island is visible in the haze of the horizon near the top left.