|Monday 29th October - South Africa - Cape Town (Day 11)
Many overlanders become so attached to their cars that they lovingly christen them with a witty name. We didnt come up with a name for our Land Cruiser, but it has served us well. Sure, there were a couple of occasions when I cursed it, but all in all it was a noble steed, transporting us in comfort despite very uncomfortable surroundings. Today we bade the Land Cruiser farewell.
Andrew took it to the Maersk office and then loaded it onto a container for the journey home to Scotland. If it was possible for the car to squeeze into an economy airline seat I wouldnt have been at all confident of my place in the flight home, but thankfully Ive still got the airline ticket and the car is taking the long way home by boat.
It was a tight squeeze for the Land Cruiser to fit into the container. Andrew needed to take air out of the tyres, remove the ladders from the rooftent and get two hefty guys to stand on the rear bumper in order to squeeze it in.
Meanwhile the rest of us went on a big shopping expedition to the V&A Waterfront. Mum and Mary had lots of fun and I think Dad and Hughie enjoyed themselves too.
In the afternoon we took a boat trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. It was a sobering place to visit. Although Nelson Mandela was the most famous prisoner, he was just one of many that were held on the island during the apartheid years. Our guide was an ex-convict himself who spoke, without any show of bitterness, of his time at the prison and the cruelty that he and others suffered at the hands of the wardens. I think the most haunting tale was of Robert Sobukwe who was held in a one-man prison for years without being allowed to converse with anyone.
It is striking how persuadable people are that wrong is right. Many white people in South Africa had no quarrel with apartheid and Im sure most of them were very nice, friendly, kind people. Just somehow they missed this big, immoral horror that sat in their blindspot for years. Theres a similarity with those who lived in Germany at the time of the Holocaust. God protect us from falling into such a pit of inhumanity to others.