Sunday, February 8, 2009
February is often the hottest month in Cape Town. With the mercury hitting 38 degrees over the past few days, 2009 looks to be no exception.
At school, in a loose blouse and skirt, I am sweating. Yet my students – in some combination of polyester tracksuit, poly blend skirt (with nylons) or trousers, button down shirt, wool sweater, tie and blazer – rarely make any adjustment to their uniforms. When I tell them they can take off their jackets and sweaters or loosen their ties, none of them do, even when they are constantly fanning themselves and perspiration is visibly forming on their faces.
At home sitting in our kitchen, my feet on the cool tiled floors, every available door and window open and a fan in my face, the heat is not unpleasant. Take away these luxuries, replace windows and doors and cool tiles and fans with corrugated metal walls and a tin roof and this scene does a complete 180.
In seeking relief from the scorching temperatures, many Capetonians head to the beach and the more affluent lounge by their pools. For most of my students, this is simply not an option. Despite being less than a half hour drive for most, beaches are generally out of reach due to lack of transport. Camps Bay is not a popular route for the mini taxis that go to and from the townships…