Posted: 12/7/2009
Title: JAN VAN RIEBEECH TO BIG MAC

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      The Dutch East India Company commander Jan van Riebeech formed a settlememt awith an abundance of fresh water from an adjoing vlei at what is now Greenpoint. Wheat and vines were planted but due to strong winds the young plants were ripped from the ground. Lifestock were grazed there instead.

     The British occupied the Cape in 1795 and the African Turf Club was founded and a race course laid on the common, and in 1851 a grandstand was designed by Gilbert McDougall.  In 1856 Mr. Edward Green built his home here and gave his address as Greenpoint and the E K Green Liquor Company, which he started, is still in business.  The common was a camp during the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902 and then for the next 60 years the Metropolitan Golf Club was active.

       How do I know all this? Well I stopped by the magnificant new Greenpoint Stadium and next door is a McDonalds 24 hour restaurant, used by many of the contruction workers still on site. They have tried to keep a history of the area on the walls, which also saw soccer played on it from 1862.  There was a thriving league in Cape Town, and you can see its history at the FIELDS OF PLAY exhibition at the District Six Museum in town. In 1966, the year that England won the World Cup, 60,000 residents of Cape Town in District Six, the BO KAAP Malay area in town werw forceably removed. 

     It was a vibrant multi-cultural community before the residents were moved to Cape Flats after their area was declared WHITES ONLY with the GROUP AREAS ACT. I strolled around the cobbled streets of Bo Kaap,now restored and the neat, brightly painted houses in pastel shades of coral, grey, violet, ocher, amber, orange , lime green, powder blue, aubergine, plus the smell of spices and meats and vegetables roasting on the small grills of street vendors.

       A FOOTBALL FOR HOPE CENTRE has just been opened at one of the largest townships in South Africa,near Cape Town, called Khayelitsha, and FIFA hope that it will help social change though soccer.  David Beckham was at the opening last Thursday and that's probably where he got his discount haircut seen world wide at the FIFA World Cup Draw!!!!

 

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