President Jacob Zuma took time out from a prepared statement on Thursday to light-heartedly suggest that “God resides in the picturesque Mother City”. He was announcing the latest tourist-arrivals figures for South Africa at a media briefing at the V&A Waterfront at the time.
And he suspects God lives on top of Table Mountain. “So we are here at a place which is blessed,” he said
Capetonians would in all likelihood agree with the president – after all, it is something we have known for centuries, and which was cemented when Table Mountain was named as one of the New7Wonder of Nature.
Long ago, the Khoi people called the mountain “Hoerikwaggo” – mountain in the sea. It was of deep spiritual significance to Khoi, who would trek up the slopes to perform religious rites.
Making the tourist-arrivals figures announcement, President Zuma said: “A total of 9 188 368 international tourists visited South Africa in 2012, 10.2% more than the 8 339 354 tourists who travelled to the country in 2011.”
South Africa’s tourist growth rate in 2012 was more than double the average global tourist growth of about 4%, estimated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
One of Zuma’s anecdotes about the beauty of Cape Town was quoted in the Cape Times on Friday morning.
Zuma was visiting Lake Victoria, where he remarked to a local man how beautiful Uganda was. “The man said that when God created the Earth, the last place he created was Uganda. There was a lot of material left over so he played around with it to separate it and make it beautiful.”
Zuma said he told the man how lucky he and his countrymen were. “He said, ‘But do you know where God went when he finished the job here?’ I said I don’t know, and he said, ‘He went to stay in Cape Town’,” Zuma said to laughter.
Zuma could not tell exactly where in Cape Town God lives, but suspected it was on top of Table Mountain. “So we are here at a place which is blessed,” he said.
Zuma urged the Mother City’s people to exhibit warmth and show their welcoming spirit when delegations from around the globe visit Cape Town for next week’s World Economic Forum Africa meeting.
Being on top of the mountain does feel like you have ascended into the heavens. Experience the spiritual beauty of Table Mountain for yourself: buy tickets and spend a few hours on the mountain – it will refresh your soul.