District six’s share in the design precinct

The corner of Plein and Roeland Street

So I finally fell in love with one of those streets I’m supposed to hate for my entire life! It’s a rule that the same old me who hates anything to do with school made up in her primary school days made up I suppose. I mean from Murray to Roeland Street; they all remind me of nothing but legalized “slavery” but here I am, motivated to get up and show up to CPUT’s Roeland Street campus every morning. It falls within the design precinct, a building where future hopefuls come to take a daily shot of a bright future. This is where you find the journalists, PR officers, and photographers of tomorrow.

Me doing a pretty bad job at taking a picture of  CPUT journalism student Aphiwe Mame

The design garage right next door can easily be overlooked at first. However, here emerging designers of all kinds commercialize their products – beautiful dresses and bags. The in-house coffee shop provides a platform for all who visit to chat about art over a cup of coffee, interact and engage. Across, a few meters up from Engen garage, is The Pole Project which I have always wanted to go into yet I can’t even do five sit-ups in one sitting. Anyway, dancers come to test their talents at the Kathy Lee owned dance studio. I think dance and aerobics, most men think…..well something else.

Harold Cressy, who was the first colored man to get a Bachelor’s degree in Arts in the entire South Africa has a school named after him right below Engine. Across the street is the Western Cape’s South African Archives and Resources while the Fruit & Veg is the perfect spot for the Cape’s freshest fruit and veggies after a taste of our colorful past. I usually pop in here for a quick snack or groceries when I’m not trying to stand in a long queue. Across is Eclipse and Orms which have become my reminder that God exists when you have two pages to print only holding R2 to your name. I do a course where assignments are the body of Christ and these spots are too useful.

At this stage of the month, the Vida E Caffe right next to Orms is a mere dream as it serves like two people for R150 on average. You won’t see many students or “Ma se kinders” here but if you’re looking for a light-skinned friend of the working class with nicer life problems, you’ve hit the hot.  The design school next to the coffee shop is hardly noticeable but hey, it’s there. The South African Heritage Resources Agency makes for a better alternative. Even though quiet; like most buildings in Roeland, it’s the cherry on top of Cape Town’s many kinds of cake.

Franchise 9 stands at the corner of Roeland and Buitekant Street

Which reminds me, as a foreign language tutor I am faced with many conversations with students about Asian cuisine. It was my birthday this month and my friends still owe me lunch at Franchise 9, which has items such as Miso Tom-Yum soup made by Asian people for that authentic experience on its menu. The Book Lounge on the corner of Buitekant & Roeland really is a personal favorite. They have book launches every month and are the perfect spot for meeting and greeting your favorite local authors. This is where you meet a real man ladies *winks*.

Where you find good books and better potential spouses

You could also go old school and pop in at the pub downstairs from the Kimberly hotel in a 19th-century building across the street. On Fridays, I come to drown all my sorrows after what always feel like the longest week of my life. It has a very relaxed vibe when you’re looking for a student discount and great service.

The Kimberly hotel looking relaxed on a weekday afternoon

One of the houses of parliament with a statue of Louis Botha at the entrance

Finally, at the end of the street, we have the infamous parliament of Sathafrika. Everyone else sees it only TV but we ‘Roelanders’ see the action all too often in person. From the motorcades to the marches and protests, it is more than convenient for us journalism students or anyone who wants to see the drama for themselves. Funny enough, right in front of Parly is St Mary’s Cathedral which provided shelter for students when things went South during a #feesmustfall protest last year. God must be feeling entertained by all that goes down in the big house.

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Peaceful St. Mary’s Cathedral on Roeland

It looks boring at first but once you look at it through another lens, Roeland is the undercover game-changer. You can find it all here and one thing’s for sure, it’s not the death sentence I thought it’d be when I realized I’d be spending three years there.


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