Cape Town

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cape Town
Cape Town (South Africa)
Cape Town
Cape Town
Coordinates 33 ° 55 ′  S , 18 ° 25 ′  E Coordinates: 33 ° 55 ′  S , 18 ° 25 ′  E
coat of arms
coat of arms
Basic data
Country South Africa


Western cape
metropolis City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality
Residents 433,688 (2011)
Metropolitan area 3,740,026 (October 2011)
founding 1652
Website (English)
View of Cape Town with the Waterfront Harbor and Robben Island from Table Mountain
View of Cape Town with the Waterfront Harbor and Robben Island from Table Mountain

Cape Town ( English Cape Town , Afrikaans Kaapstad , isiXhosa iKapa ) is one of the largest cities in South Africa . Since 2004 it has been the exclusive seat of the South African parliament . Cape Town is the capital of the Western Cape Province and is the core of the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality , the metropolitan municipality around Cape Town. As a place covered by the statistics ( Main Place ), Cape Town had 433,688 inhabitants in 2011.

Cape Town got its name after the Cape of Good Hope , which is about 45 kilometers to the south and represented a major danger on the sea route to India. Since Cape Town was the first city to be founded in the South African colonial era , it is sometimes referred to as the "mother city" (Afrikaans: Moederstad , English: Mother City ).



Cape Town is located in the southwest of the Republic of South Africa directly on the table bay of the Atlantic Ocean .

Cape Town is famous for its landmark, Table Mountain, among other things . Its distinctive, plateau-shaped surface, together with Signal Hill , Lion's Head and Devil's Peak, dominates the city 's skyline.


The climate of Cape Town is characterized by its location on the Atlantic. Accordingly, there are only moderate temperature fluctuations. In the summer months from December to February, the monthly highs are around 24 to 25 ° C, while the average does not drop below 16 ° C. In the winter months of July and August, the maximum values ​​fall to around 17 ° C, the minimum values ​​are around 10 ° C. In winter, with an average of around 70 mm per month, significantly more rainfall than in summer with less than 20 mm.

Cape Town
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: WMO 1961–1990
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Cape Town
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 26.1 26.5 25.4 23.0 20.3 18.1 17.5 17.8 19.2 21.3 23.5 24.9 O 21.9
Min. Temperature (° C) 15.7 15.6 14.2 11.9 9.4 7.8 7.0 7.5 8.7 10.6 13.2 14.9 O 11.4
Precipitation ( mm ) 15th 17th 20th 41 69 93 82 77 40 30th 14th 17th Σ 515
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 10.9 10.5 9.4 7.8 6.6 5.8 6.2 6.8 7.5 9.0 10.3 10.8 O 8.5
Rainy days ( d ) 5.5 4.6 4.8 8.3 11.4 13.3 11.8 13.7 10.4 8.7 4.9 6.2 Σ 103.6
Water temperature (° C) 18th 19th 19th 18th 17th 16 15th 14th 15th 16 17th 18th O 16.8
Humidity ( % ) 71 72 74 78 81 81 81 80 77 74 71 71 O 75.9
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: WMO 1961–1990


Historical map (around 1888)
Cape Town from Robben Iceland from
Cape Town Stadium , Green Point

The area now known as Cape Town was originally settled by the San and Khoikhoi . In 1652 the Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck went ashore in Table Bay and founded a supply station for the merchant ships of the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie; short: VOC) on their route to India . The location was chosen because a sheltered bay offered itself as a natural harbor. The Dutch drove out the indigenous people who had previously settled the area and immediately built Fort de Goede Hoop - today's Castle of Good Hope - for their own protection . Since the indigenous people refused to trade with and work for the conquerors, the VOC imported people from their trading areas in Madagascar , India, Malaysia and Indonesia to keep them as slaves . Since there was not only a shortage of workers but also of women in the still young colony , the slaves were exploited in two ways: for work and sexual relations. The resulting mixture of Europeans, slaves and the African natives is the origin of today's colored population ( Cape Coloreds ).

During the 150 years of Dutch rule , the settlement grew into an important and lively port. The port of Cape Town was also called the tavern of the sea , as it offered rest and stay for the many ships that sailed between Europe and Asia. When the VOC was near bankruptcy at the end of the 18th century, the city became easy prey for British imperialists who wanted to expand their sphere of influence in the region. After the defeat of the Dutch by the British in 1806 on Bloubergstrand , about 25 kilometers north of Cape Town, the colony was declared a British Crown Colony on August 13, 1814 , and slavery was abolished.

The discovery and first mining of diamonds and gold on the highveld in the interior of the country between 1869 and 1890 changed Cape Town very quickly. The city was no longer the only and dominant city in the colony, but gained wealth and prosperity as the country's largest port, while more and more industrial companies settled in the city. At that time the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony , Cecil Rhodes , who lived in Cape Town at the time , made great profits with his De Beers group , which is still the world's largest diamond miner.

The bubonic plague of 1901 served the then government of the colony as an excuse to introduce racial segregation . The black population was deported to two areas, one near the docks at the port and the other in Ndabeni on the east side of Table Mountain. The doctor and health politician Jane Elizabeth Waterston dealt with the disastrous health and hygiene situation in these districts at the time .

After the victory in 1948 of the National Party already limited rights of the non-white population of Cape Town have been further curtailed, including through expulsion in center distant neighborhoods in which they lived divided by skin color. The measures led to violent clashes and court hearings, with which the apartheid state enforced its policy.

For decades, the white government tried to remove black slums as they were seen as the source of resistance movements against their apartheid regime. A prominent example of this in Cape Town is District Six . The city administration was a thorn in the side of this district with its very colorful ethnic and religious mix and the lively life along Hanover Street, which was known for its jazz bars. After deliberately letting the quarter go to waste, it was declared a redevelopment area in 1966 due to “unsustainable hygienic conditions”. The residents were distributed to newly established townships such as Gugulethu , Nyanga , Mitchells Plain and later Khayelitsha , which were built in the Cape Flats area . In 1984 the last houses were demolished. Today much of the area is wasteland or is used by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology , founded in 1982 .

A final attempt was made in 1986 when about 70,000 people were about to be forcibly relocated. Since these radical measures did not lead to the desired success either, the government bowed and began to improve living conditions in the slums.

On February 11, 1990, just hours after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech in decades from the balcony of Cape Town City Hall, announcing the beginning of a new era in South Africa. Cape Town has changed fundamentally since the end of apartheid. Land prices have increased rapidly, the city center is safer and many districts have been developed through extensive redevelopment programs.

Nevertheless, the majority of Cape Town's residents still live in the same districts of the Cape Flats, now separated by income, and still suffer from the same economic, social and health problems. Apart from a small colored and black financial upper class that is forming, the socio-economic improvements hoped for are still a long way off. Problems like AIDS and a high crime rate remain unsolved.

Until 2004, Cape Town was the seat of the South African Parliament during the summer months. Parliament has been meeting there all year round since then.

In June 2012, a gathering of members of the Khoisan community was held in Cape Town to commemorate their late traditional ruler Dawid Kruiper . He had been an active representative of his ethnic group, the San , and had campaigned for their minority rights and for the preservation of their own language . The common earlier ancestors before the immigration of Bantu, Europeans and Asians were the inhabitants of large parts of South Africa and neighboring countries. In the course of this event, it was suggested that Cape Town should be renamed in your language in the future. In future it should be called // Hui! Gaeb . That means something like "where the clouds gather". Based on their historical self-image, they consider all other demographic groups living in South Africa to be “foreigners”.



The city of Cape Town has as of Statistics South Africa defined location ( main place ) according to Census 2011, approximately 434,000 inhabitants. The definition of which residential areas are included in the core city is redefined with each census, which is why there can be considerable deviations. The area of ​​the core city in the 2001 census was 496.70 km², while in 2011 only an area of ​​400.28 km² was counted as the city of Cape Town. Since then, Athlone , Belhar , Epping Industria , Grassy Park , Matroosfontein , Muizenberg and Philippi have been considered separate locations.

Census: 1891 1985 1991 2001 2011
Population: 51,251 776.617 854.616 827.218 433,688

Population groups

In the Main Place Cape Town census live up to 2,011 44.6% coloreds , 32.3% White, 15.8% Black, 3.4% Indians and Asians and 3.9% other.

The 1891 census showed the following distribution of population groups for the city of Cape Town: 49.5% white, 49.4% colored (33.3% Khoikhoi and 16.1% Malay ) and 1.1% black (Bantu).


The first language in Cape Town was 67.7% English, 22.5% Afrikaans and 4.7% IsiXhosa. 4.7% said their first language was “other”, i.e. H. language not recognized nationwide in South Africa.


Cape Town is two-fold episcopal city: There is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Town with St. Mary's Cathedral as the mother church and the Diocese of Cape Town of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa , whose main church is St. Georges Cathedral . In addition, numerous other Christian denominations are represented in the city, such as the Zion Christian Church , the Baptist Union of Southern Africa , the Methodist Church of Southern Africa or the Presbyterian Church of Africa . Next to Christianity, Islam is the second largest denomination with a relatively long history. The Auwal Mosque is considered to be the oldest mosque in South Africa. There are also synagogues for the Jewish population . There are also Hindu , Buddhist and Baha'i temples.

Cape Town and the consequences of apartheid

Computer generated image of the Cape Peninsula; it shows the Cape of Good Hope on the lower right edge, above it False Bay. Cape Town itself is in the middle at the bottom of the picture.
Khayelitsha on the N2 (2015)

Due to apartheid, which lasted until 1994, Cape Town is a very segregated city. The city center is located within the first settlement areas for European immigrants with its rectangular street plan. It can best be compared to the central business district of North American and Australian cities. Administration, service facilities and retail are located in the city center, while apartments are hard to find. This inner city area is bordered by industrial districts, especially the port area with associated businesses such as freight forwarders and logistics companies. The residential areas were distributed over the urban area depending on the population group. The whites owned the best residential areas near the center or in attractive suburbs. This was followed by areas of the Colored population who were evicted from their ancestral residential areas in the inner city, such as District Six . The black population was housed in the areas furthest from the center. In 1985, Cape Town was the city where apartheid was most advanced. Only five percent of the population lived in the “wrong” part of town.

With the end of apartheid, there are no longer any discriminatory regulations. However, the situation is changing only slowly. Only a small number of the formerly disadvantaged population groups have so far managed to move to the more centrally located or better equipped residential areas.

Outside the city, townships were established in the 20th century. The most important are Langa (from 1927), Nyanga , Gugulethu (1960s), Crossroads (1970s), Khayelitsha (1980s) and, for the Coloreds, Mitchells Plain . All of these settlements are now part of the metropolitan municipality.


The University of Cape Town

Along with Stellenbosch , Johannesburg and Pretoria, Cape Town is the most important university city in South Africa. The University of Cape Town (UCT for short) is one of the oldest universities on the African continent. There is also the University of the Western Cape , UWC, and the technical Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

There is also a business school in Cape Town, the Graduate School of Business of the University of Cape Town. The Graduate School of Business is in close proximity to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront . The Graduate School of Business at the University of Stellenbosch (SUN for short) is also located in Bellville , a district of Cape Town, and is also the SUN University Hospital.

Cape Town has numerous English language schools that are attended by people from many countries. Development began in the mid-1990s. Reasons for the positive development are traditionally tolerant basic standards, the quality orientation and the high recreational value of Cape Town.

Transport infrastructure

An incoming Metrorail train (Heathfield Station)

The Cape Town International Airport , formerly DF Malan Airport , is the second largest airport in South Africa. Domestic flights start from here, increasingly to other African countries such as Namibia , Botswana and Kenya as well as to important airports in Europe and America. Numerous destinations in Europe, Asia and America are served several times a week. The most important airline at the airport is the state-owned South African Airways and Comair . Cape Town is an important destination for low-cost airlines like or Mango .

The airport is easily accessible via the local road network. The N2 , which runs east along the coast, runs right next to the runway. The N1 towards Bloemfontein - Johannesburg is only a few kilometers away. Shuttle buses run from the center to the airport.

The Cape Town Railway Station is the main train station, with the Metrorail Cape Town has a S-Bahn -like regional train and a regional bus network ("Golden Arrow"), which are strongly geared towards commuters. Since May 2011, modern MyCiTi buses have been running between the city center and Table View to the north. Since then, the MyCiTi route network has been expanded, and the districts of Camps Bay and Sea Point have also been served since November 2013. Most of the local transport is handled by mini taxis , private minibuses that travel certain routes and that hold hands, but are mostly overcrowded. All public transport is used almost exclusively by the poorer population.

The city has a well developed road network; the car is the main means of transport for the wealthier population. Bicycle traffic plays a minor role. The conception as a car-friendly city made it difficult for the poorer population, especially in the outskirts, to move from quarter to quarter as pedestrians - this was also not wanted during apartheid. This is why pedestrians are often on the road, as it is often their only chance to get to a certain place.

Drinking water infrastructure

The Theewaterskloof Reservoir

The drinking water supply for Cape Town comes mainly from 6 reservoirs in the near and far vicinity of the metropolitan municipality City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality and forms the essential part of the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS). The regulation of the drinking water supply and use in the area of ​​the Cape Town urban area is based on a water statute ( by-law ).

Climatic trends prior to 2018 caused a growing water supply crisis in the Cape Town conurbation due to a lack of rainfall. This created an intensive public perception of the dependence of the entire population of the agglomeration on the natural and climatic framework conditions. Meanwhile, the city is building several seawater desalination plants.

Culture and sights

Long Street in Cape Town
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Table Mountain
Canal Walk shopping center
Cape Town and Table Mountain from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Iziko South African Museum (left) and Central Methodist Mission
Koopmans-de Wet House, formerly a private residence from 1701.

Cape Town is a popular tourist destination, especially between October and March. Tourism is an important economic factor for the city and the surrounding suburbs.

The most popular sights include Table Mountain , but also the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and the Victorian part of the harbor, which offers tourists a lot of variety with boutiques, restaurants, museums such as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa , Nobel Square or the Two Oceans Aquarium . The waterfront in San Francisco served as a model . The Cape Town Opera is open all year round .

The city offers a variety of museums and historical buildings such as the castle ( Castle of Good Hope ) , the oldest surviving building in South Africa. It was built in 1666 on the model of baroque fortresses, but was never involved in fighting. Other places of tourist importance are the City Hall, built in 1905, also the St. Georges Cathedral , seat of the Anglican Bishop, as well as the South African National Gallery and the National Museum. Downtown Long Street is one of the busiest streets in the city. Here you will find pubs, restaurants and nightclubs that turn the street into an entertainment mile. The Bo-Kaap district, which is mostly inhabited by Muslims, with its brightly colored houses is also one of the sights. The Iziko Slave Lodge , a former slave accommodation, houses a museum on the history of slavery in Cape Town.

A tourist magnet is the former prison island Robben Island , on which Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Since 1999 the island has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO . It was used as a camp for political prisoners by the apartheid governments.

The tourist suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifton , whose beaches are among the most popular in South Africa, are very popular during the summer months . They live almost exclusively from tourism. The Bloubergstrand in the north of the city is mostly used by water sports enthusiasts. However, water and beaches can wastewater discharges strong such with harmful bacteria. B. Escherichia coli may be contaminated.

Also worth mentioning is the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden at the southern foot of Table Mountain, which was donated to the city in 1902 by Cecil Rhodes . The area was made a botanical garden in 1914 to protect the unique flora and was the first protected garden of its kind in South Africa.

The major Century City project is located at the N1 / N7 motorway junction and includes a theme park (Ratanga Junction), the Canal Walk shopping center , a casino, the Intaka Wetlands reserve, apartments and offices. Canal Walk offers a cinema center, numerous restaurants and two hotels.

The Foreshore Freeway Bridge , an unfinished bridge structure in the city, has been a tourist attraction since the 1970s.


There are numerous shopping centers in Cape Town and its suburbs, such as the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront shopping center in the harbor area. This mall is on the water. Many sightseeing tours and sightseeing tours start here. There are also numerous street vendors and musicians here. Long Street, not far from the harbor, is also an inner-city tourist destination .

The Constantia Village in Cape Town's wine region with its luxury shops and the Canal Walk shopping center north of Cape Town with 400 shops and numerous restaurants are other well-known malls. Canal Walk is the third largest shopping mall in South Africa . Most major malls are open all week, but in the suburbs many stores are closed on Sundays.


In addition to tourism, Cape Town lives primarily from textile production and information technology . The advertising industry, transport and trade should also be mentioned. Agricultural products from the Western Cape Province are exported from Cape Town, mainly fruit, wine and flowers. Mineral resources such as iron ore, on the other hand, are exported via the port in Saldanha Bay to the north . In June 2006, the first Cape Town Book Fair took place as a joint venture with the Frankfurt Book Fair to promote reading and more affordable prices, especially for school books, for higher volumes of books.

An automobile manufacturer in Cape Town was Optimal Energy , which was based from 2004 to 2012 and was also represented at European automobile exhibitions. It was closed in 2012. Another of the city's former automakers was Glass Sports Motor .

In a study by the consulting company Mercer on the quality of life in 231 cities around the world, Cape Town took 94th place. In a South African comparison, it was behind Durban (89th place), but ahead of Johannesburg (95th place) (as of 2018).

sons and daughters of the town

The list contains an overview of important personalities who were born in today's Cape Town, sorted by year of birth. It is irrelevant whether or not the people later had their sphere of activity in Cape Town. Many moved away after their birth and became known elsewhere. The list does not claim to be complete.


View from Table Mountain over the Bay of Cape Town
Nocturnal panorama of Cape Town
Lion's Head as seen from Signal Hill
View of the city from below the valley station of the Table Mountain Railway
Evening on the waterfront


Web links

Commons : Cape Town  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. ^ South African History Online : New Khoisan name for Cape Town, June 25, 2012 . on (English)
  3. Sapa: '// Hui! Gaeb' - the new Khoisan name for Cape Town . Message from Mail & Guardian of June 27, 2012 on (English)
  4. ^ South African History Online (SAHO) - History of Muslims in South Africa: 1652 - 1699 by Ebrahim Mahomed Mahida ( English ), accessed on January 3, 2020
  5. Jonathan D. Jansen: Accounting for Autonomy: How Higher Education lost its Innocence (PDF) UCT: 41st TB Davie Memorial Lecture, August 26, 2004, p. 8 (PDF document p. 8), ( English)
  6. Shuttle Services ., accessed November 30, 2018
  7. Web site Mycity ( English ) Retrieved on August 19, 2013.
  8. ^ Republic of South Africa. Department of Water and Sanitation: Cape Town River System State of Dams on 2018-05-14 . on (English)
  9. City of Cape Town: Dam levels . on (English)
  10. City of Cape Town: City of Cape Town: Water By-law, 2010 . In: Province of Western Cape: Provincial Gazette 6847 of February 18, 2011, online at (English)
  11. City of Cape Town: Water crisis: Stricter water restrictions from tomorrow . on (English)
  12. ^ Heiner Hoffmann: South Africa: Cape Town - water becomes a luxury good. In: . February 25, 2019, accessed February 27, 2019 .
  13. Svenja Beller: Bathing fun in the sewer. In: . February 26, 2019, accessed February 27, 2019 .
  14. Mercer's 2018 Quality of Living Rankings. Retrieved July 30, 2018 .