Under the Table
I recently spent two months in Cape Town, and wanted to stay somewhere different from usual. Somewhere in nature yet in the city. I chose the Lighthouse Lodge, part of the Oude Molen Urban Eco-Farm in Pinelands, a suburb of Cape Town. A curious place, an old mental hospital that is now rented to artists and other interesting sorts, the farm sits on a hill looking out past a small river with reed beds, and a highway, to Table Mountain.
There’s everything here that could possibly fit the bill, and more. A great restaurant selling organic everything. Horses and riding school. Vegetable growing classes, run by octogenarian, John, who will tell you just where to pick the best basil leaves, and all about butternut squash.
A husband and wife team give seminars on the importance of bees and worms in the food chain. Bruce, whose wife runs the crèche, produces clocks from old records, with images of Barack Obama, and probably Nelson Mandela.
I made some good friends from all over Africa and beyond, staying at the lodge, another of these converted blocks. In particular, I was fortunate to meet and get to know the resident white sangomas, Kelly and Brad.
Sangomas in South Africa are healers. They vary in their styles, but essentially work with traditional herbs, and your ancestry, looking for trouble-making relatives that have perhaps cast a spell. One Saturday a group of Sangomas came together at the farm’s community centre. Lots of large ladies in traditional dress laughed and joked and sung and danced.
I’m glad I finally made it to South Africa, and Cape Town. The people are friendly, and the scenery is stunning.
Oude Molen was the icing on the cake for me. I could never have survived empty streets of the city on Sundays had I not had my new friends and all the great things to experience on the farm.
– Alan McArthur
Images: copyright Alan McArthur