Travels and Places of Interest

The Place, The History, The Pottery, The Music and The Gatsby
by Ryan Swano

As a Capetonian who has been to Macassar so many times before, going on my first guided tour was when for the first time ever I felt a real connection to how significant a place it really is.
I've only now learned that the story of Macassar is in fact the hidden history of Cape Town that so many of us who live here don't really know about.
John Ross who features in this video is currently busy working towards his qualifications to be a registered tour guide and nowadays independently leads most of the tour groups.

The tour I went on was lead by Johan de Meyer, CEO of the Social Enterprise Macassar Pottery, which aims to make an impact on the community of Macassar and far beyond with their Pottery, Music, Skills Development Programs and Tourism aimed at creating awareness of the Negative Impact Spatial Planning Along Race & Class Lines not only has in South Africa but all across the world.
Johan has a brilliant and fun way of relating the significance between Macassar's history, the present living conditions that is still heavily shaped by the legacy of Apartheid and what impact Macassar Pottery aims to have on the future of the township and on greater society.

Visiting Shekh Yusuf's iconic mausoleum I learned that his life story is the DNA that powers Macassar Pottery's approach to life, of finding beauty in unlikely places.
The establishment of Macassar was in fact the first case of forced removals and what centuries later became the Group Areas Act, being the first town established specifically for People of Colour.
Besides Shekh Yusuf and other Indo-Malay / Batavian exiles, runaway slaves from various parts of the world as well as many Khoekhoen have in its first years of existence settled in Macassar or were forced by authorities to live there.
One could say that Macassar's entire history has over centuries laid down the blueprint for what we today refer to as Apartheid Spatial Planning.

All of this learning happened while we were having loads of fun. Heading from the mausoleum to the pottery workshop we ended up literally and metaphorically "getting our hands dirty".
Working with clay as well as experiencing the clay musical instruments not only brought out my inner child but also helped me see many adult issues from a new perspective.
The group drumming session is not something one can easily describe with mere words.  Being in a group of diverse people from widely differing social spheres and income groups which many times includes people from different countries Making Music with Instruments Made of Clay does something extraordinary to ones soul. 
More than that, the combined experience of all the activities gives one a new perspective of one's own tiny yet very important place in the this vast and beautiful universe.

Whether you are a tourist from halfway across the world, whether you are from another part of South Africa or whether like me you are from Cape Town, this tour experience will open your eyes to a whole new world that few people know existed all along and it will make you look at your own life in a totally different light.

Oh and if you haven't eaten a Gatsby yet, ask John Ross or Johan about introducing you to Cape Town's favourite fast food meal.

Click Here to Visit the Macassar Pottery Facebook Page

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