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South Africa – my second home

3 March 2021
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Art painter, former model and TV host. Roland Peeters is an extraordinary character. He comes from Belgium and lives with his family in Hamburg. He has been spending two months a year in South Africa over the last 30 years. Roland was my neighbor and the funniest guide around Cape Town. He is almost like a local. Thanks to him, I discovered many fantastic places, the existence of which I had no idea. You can read below why he calls this place his second home.



When did you first visit South Africa and what were your first impressions?

The first time I came to S.A. was in 1978. It was my honeymoon and the first time I left Europe. My sister-in-law was living in Cape Town and that was a great advantage. She was the perfect guide for me. She showed me not only the classic tourist must-see spots, but also many places and things only locals know about. My first impressions were beyond everything I had expected. It was mind blowing! Never before I have experienced such a variety of nature and culture so concentrated. Almost everything was here. Beautiful beaches, mountains, desert, two oceans, woods, lakes, valleys, you name it.The fauna and flora was spectacular, even for somebody whose expectations were high. On top of that I was impressed by the people, extremely friendly and with a coolness that makes you happy. It´s not hard to make friends here and as I experienced, this friendship is real. But there was also a dark side of this paradise: in 1978 there was still apartheid and it broke my heart to see how black and coloured people were treated. It was a crying shame what the then government did to the original inhabitants of this beautiful country. And now, many years later, although apartheid doesn´t exist anymore, but you realize that racism is a hard nut to crack.

 
 
 

Why do you come to Cape Town every year?

Because I fell in love with this country and also to escape from the long winters in Germany, and just because I love the life style here, to get in the „African Modus“ like I call it. Mostly it takes a week or two and then I notice that I walk slower, I'm more patient and start seeing things which you don´t see if you are in a hurry. This is the perfect place to load up the inner batteries. And last but not least, over the years I made a lot of friends here and they're all waiting for me with open arms.😁.


 
 

Could you live here permanently?

That is a difficult question. I would love to live here but there are also many things that I would miss here. In Europe we are spoiled with an extreme variety of culture that is hard to find here. Just think about all the great cities like Rome, Paris, London, Barcelona, etc. All very close (2 hour flight). And not to forget all the operas, musicals, museums, architecture and so much more. I think the perfect combination would be to live here from October till April and then enjoy the summer in Europe.

 
 
 

What are your favorite places? What would you recommend to see or experience?

My favourite places depend on the mood I´m in. Sometimes it´s just a lazy day at the beach, sometimes it´s driving around or take a bike and enjoy the nature, or just a day in the centre of Cape Town and walk around to watch people. It´s amazing how creative they are when it comes to make some money. I would recommend everybody who comes to Cape Town to start slowly. First enjoy a few day at the beach (don´t forget sun lotion 50 😉) and try to get in the „African Modus“. That means: get rid of the hectic! And then start seeing the classic tourist highlights like: Table Mountain, Stellenbosch & Franschoek, Waterfront, Noordhoek, Safari´s, Robben Island, etc. Just look in your travel guide. And suddenly you will notice that you will start seeing beautiful things everywhere you go. I also would recommend people not to come for just one week but as long as possible.

 
 

What is your best South African memory or adventure?

My best memory is difficult to say because there are so many but the craziest is definitely that I made a bet with a friend to see who would get scared first or who would freeze first when we swam at night, in complete darkness, as far as possible in the ocean. And it was breeding season for the sharks! By the way:I won 😎

 
 

You are a painter, what colours would you use to describe this city?

I like this question 😀. Green because of the nature. White from the beaches. Red is the colour of the great wines of SA, Yellow, which stands for the Sun and last but not least black because of the dark history and the original inhabitants of this beautiful country. It's no coincident that all these colours are combined in the South African flag.

Finish this sentence: Cape Town is my second home because ….

…it comes close to paradise for me. 😀

Roland's paintings available here.

 

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