Although it has the whiff of an undying fascination inspired by the millennia-old African culture that gave birth to all the races of the modern world, Cape Town is as European as you will find in Africa. Supremely creative, unique, different, with its conflictive past evident on all sides, alongside the fierce energy of its present, it is the repository of all that has changed in South Africa over the last thirty years.
Known as Kaapstad in Afrikaans, the third largest city in the country (with some 3.5 million inhabitants) is both capital and the hub of its tourist industry. Cape Town was the first European settlement in Southern Africa and its modern history – from the historic landing of the first Dutch colonists in 1600 through to the much-heralded leadership of Nelson Mandela in the post-Apartheid era – has left tracks visible through the history, traditions and architecture of the place.
The imposing Table Mountain dominates and divides the city. Picturesque, this untamed, blunt mountain reaches up some 1073 metres high and circles around the southern reaches of the city – Waterfront, City Bowl – providing an astounding coastal panorama. From here, one can head out along the magnificent trails that comprise the Mountain Route (towards the Karoo), the Wine Route (towards Cape Winelands) and the Garden Route (towards the southern coast).
This is where Kemon chose to shoot its Spring/Summer Collection. A land that is wondrous, colourful, rich in both history and culture; a place that astounds and invites reflection.
Beautiful yet full of contradictions, Cape Town is all skyscrapers and shanty towns, gorgeous beaches and staggering pockets of poverty, inviting parks and ongoing water crises, a modern hub for design yet the fifteenth most violent city in the world. Capital of a country yet lacking a true name: “South Africa” is the name given by the old British colonists to the southern colonies, unified into a single entity, i.e. the Union of South Africa. In Cape Town “it always seems impossible until it’s done” (Nelson Mandela).
Alessandro Di Giacomo
Photo Mark David Alunni