IKapa lodumo as my people call it means the Cape of fame. It’s a beautiful city known for its beaches, mountains and diversity in languages, cultures and people. It is, after all, called the Mother City, as it was the first place where Europeans settled. Like most architecture in the country, you only have to look at the old buildings/statures to see the history reflected back to you. But it is also known for more than that, because Cape Town IS more than that. Don’t get me wrong, is it still a coloniser’s city? ummm…Definitely. But even with that, there is still so much to experience: Table Mountain, Robben Island, even Parliament if that floats your boat. But those are still not the only good things about Cape Town. 

Even with the ugly history and the reflection of the rampant inequality in the Province, you can’t help but be mesmerised by the cool sea breezes, the infamous moody weather that changes whenever it sees fit, and its people: Capetonians. I don’t consider myself a Cape Townian – I  was told six years is not long enough to earn this title. I left when I was five years old and returned when I was about 17, and now at 25 years old, it still feels like a long visit. Perhaps it is the lowkey racism that forces me to gaslight myself (side eye), or the imposter syndrome I feel whenever I enter any space where I feel I don’t belong… 

It’s a hard pill to swallow living in this city, but like any other city or place, there are good things and bad things. As someone who took years to get used to the culture and the vibe of the people here, I can give you some things that will help you understand Capetonians. 

Firstly you NEED to have a pair of Flip-flops. You always NEED a pair of flip-flops, and people love flip-flops here. No matter what their race, they mostly finish their outfits with the shoe. Don’t ask me why; I just live here and don’t make the rules. And yes I own five pairs now lol. 

If you’ve never had Gatsby, fish and chips, you might as well go back to wherever you come from because you are surely not Capetonian. A gatsby is like ukota, and it’s a half sandwich consisting of a bread roll filled with chips and a choice of fillings and sauces. Every corner you turn, a fishery sells different kinds of gatsby, fish and chips for affordable prices. 

Go climb a mountain on a random day for exercise? Yes… but also for fun. Yes, fun. They climb mountains for fun. Beautiful spots like Signal hill, Elephant’s eye and Lion’s Head are popular trails people track. Yes, I have done it multiple times, and it is fun, so sue me. I am after all a half-Capetonian now. 

Cliquey Cape Town – It’s weird, but making friends in this city is hard. Most people already have friends and don’t want to make more. As you grow up, you outgrow terms like a best friend, but Cape Town people have a fondness for the people they know and take a while to warm up to newness, so integrating with new people is hard. I was only able to make genuine friendships three years into living here. 

Does having or doing these things make you a Capetonian? Probably not, a Capetonian is a way of being. And even though I may not be a qualified Capetonian apparently, I’ve grown to love this city with its quirks. Come through and enjoy it for yourself as well. 

Tell us: Where are you from and what do people do there that makes them?