National Geographic : 1953 Aug
178 w. Robert Moore, National (Georaphic Stall South Africa's Prime Ministers Live in Groote Schuur, Once Cecil Rhodes's Home Cecil Rhodes willed Groote Schuur, his "Big Barn," to future prime ministers of the Union of South Africa, though the Union itself was not yet formed when he died in 1902. The original structure, built by early Dutch settlers for grain storage, burned in 1896. Rhodes had it rebuilt with 30 rooms, but only two baths. His own bathtub, cut from a single great block of marble, is still there. liest species of gladiolus, lobelia, geranium, marigold, and the calla lily; African violets are among our most popular house plants.* When the Mayor of Cape Town, the Hon orable Fritz Sonnenberg, gave us a reception at City Hall, we noticed his rooms were pan eled in a handsome light-brown wood, beau tifully carved and rubbed to a satin finish. Stinkwood Makes Fine Furniture "What kind of wood is that?" I asked. "It's stinkwood," said the Mayor. "It got the name because it really stinks when it's first cut. It's been used for fine furniture and decoration from the very beginning, but it's getting scarce now and very expensive." The architecture of Cape Town's older houses, colonial Iutch and British Victorian, recalls the city's Iutch and English past. From here on I found the influences of both countries strong all through South Africa. Many dialects are spoken in Cape Town, but the two official languages are English and Afrikaans, the latter a modified form of Dutch. Both are taught in schools and universities and are required of all Government office- holders. They appear together on everything from stamps and street signs to airport regu lations and dinner menus. South Africa has yet to solve the political and social problems rising from its mixture of many races, colors, and religions. In Cape Town's streets, modern South Africans of Brit ish, Dutch, and French ancestry brush shoul ders with native Basutos and Zulus, and with Malays and Indians. Mosques and minarets rise above the Mos lem quarter as reminders of Malay slaves brought in the first waves of settlement. Tur baned Indians pass veiled Malay women and Cape Coloured, a mixture so lightened that some seem white. In all South Africa, in fact, the vital sta tistics tell a significant story: 2,600.000 whites and 10,000,000 native Africans and other dark races. To me, parts of Cape Town had a distinct English flavor. I heard many Oxford accents: I ate English pudding: and above all I drank tea-tea for breakfast, tea at 10:30, tea for * See "The World in Your Garden," by W. H. Camp, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIIC MAGAZINE, July, 1947.