Nitin Natrajan

Three months, three countries, one suitcase

Taking a Leap

Taking a leap

This week started off with our usual lecture, but we only had classes for three days this week. The rest of the time was allocated for our long-awaited Case Study about food security in this city. I was assigned to the group that was going to research production. But before getting into production, we first got a lecture about food sources. This was quite possibly one of the best guest lectures we had. We got to experience some fun alternate food sources including bread made out of Mapani caterpillars. Shocking description aside, it is actually surprisingly good. I also got to try some really lovely herbs, a notable one being wild rosemary which featured a delightful fragrance. After that lecture, it was straight to the Phillippi Horticultural Area (PHA) which is in the Cape Flats area of Cape Town. The farming area is incredibly vast and featured a remarkable variety of plants. During this time we got a presentation from the founder of the organization Nazeer. This presentation yielded some rather exciting notes. First what we found is that most of the crops grown in the world aren’t even for consumption; it is for animal feed and occasionally biofuels. The PHA is actually a philanthropic organization that is promoting small-scale farming as a way to help ease the food security crisis that is happening in Cape Town. They aim to encourage farmers to grow a more diverse range of crops; it was indeed a fascinating process. This study was continued the next day with a visit to a farm that was located right by the foot of Table Mountain.

Two of us headed towards the top of Signal Hill for a spot of adventurous activity. One of the more popular adventure activities in Cape Town is Paragliding, and so my friend and I decided to take a leap, quite literally. The views from the jump were truly outrageous and thus allowed the pictures to take over from my narration.

After the casual jump of the mountain, it was time to head to the farm. The city farm was run by Kurt, an American from Ohio who moved to South Africa around twenty years ago. He uses the farm not as a way to solve food security but as a vessel for promoting education. He found not many people are actually aware of the process went through growing the produce that people consume daily. So what he does is that he works with schools to farm programs and to use the space to conduct free lessons. His own son comes to the farm to actually learn it is remarkably fascinating to see. After the visit to the farm, it was time to work on the lengthy project in addition to all the other work we would have to do. But first, we decided to conduct a little bit of downtime, and this was in the form of a small hike.


Our downtime, so to speak, started with a group lunch at the Biscuit Hill market which is fantastically gentrified. Needlessly to say, I did end up giving in and purchased a rather lovely shirt but more on that later. Afterwards, a group of us decided to head towards the scenic Lions Head for a small hike. The climb up was unbelievable as the path looped around the mountain, so we were able to get a spectacular 360-degree view of the city. After a bit of climbing and dodging the occasional Dassie, we got to the top and my god the view. (cue pictures)

After admiring the view for an extended period and doing the prerequisite photoshoots, we headed to regroup with more of the program to catch the sunset at Signal Hill which proved to be one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Our view was obstructed by the clouds, but the colors sneaking through the clouds created a vivid purple pattern through the clouds. It was a beautiful way to end the day and to close off the week.



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