I’ve seen Nelson Mandela-inspired art in South Africa – Cheryl Gibbs

Cheryl Gibbs met an artist in Cape Town who makes jewellery from pieces of the fence that surrounded the Robben Island jail which housed Nelson Mandela
Cheryl Gibbs met an artist in Cape Town who makes jewellery from pieces of the fence that surrounded the Robben Island jail which housed Nelson Mandela

Hello from Cape Town! I’m writing this from my terrace overlooking the canal that runs between the resort’s main hotel building and the island that makes up this enormous property.

We’re staying at the One and Only Cape Town and it’s a complete contrast to where we’ve just been in Kenya.

This hotel is big and grand and opulent and is situated on the popular V&A Waterfront which is a big marina full of bars, restaurants and shops – a bit like Gunwharf Quays. I feel right at home. 

We arrived about 11pm on Monday so had a pretty easy day on Tuesday and actually spent a bit of time around the marina chilling out, having a couple of drinks and eating in the food market, which is such a cool experience. 

I’ve been here before, about five years ago with Matt when we went travelling, and a lot of memories have come back to me, it’s such a wonderful place. 

On Tuesday we had a manic day filming Charmaine Taylor who is a ‘wearable art’ jewellery maker. She designs bespoke pieces made from the prison fence that held Nelson Mandela captive for 18 years on Robben Island.

It was truly inspiring listening to her talk about her inspiration and why she felt it important that the fence wasn’t just scrapped and buried. 

She wanted to use it to highlight the good work Mandela did and how he changed South Africa – and the world – for the better.

From there we went to a vineyard in Stellenbosch and as soon as we pulled up I remembered I’d been there with Matt. I couldn’t help but buy some chenin blanc to take back with me.

I just hope there’s enough room in my suitcase otherwise I’ll be forced to leave some clothes behind!

It’s been the polar opposite of our experience in Kenya, not better or worse, just different and that’s the beauty of travelling.

I’m home on Saturday afternoon and I’ve already got my night planned – Chinese from Noble House in Southsea (a long way to go from Clanfield, but we love it) the bottle of chenin blanc from South Africa and an omnibus of Neighbours. 

You can take the girl out of Pompey…

I’ve been truly humbled by my experiences in Kenya

I absolutely fell in love with Kenya – what a place. We were so lucky to be given the chance to experience so much in such a short space of time.

On top of doing the hot air balloon safari I wrote about last week, we did an additional three more land safaris tearing up the Masai Mara in a Jeep.

There were lions, herds of elephants, pods of hippos, a cheetah, crocodiles, herds of wildebeeste and zebras, lots of giraffe.

I was also so humbled by the people – the Kenyans are so friendly and everyone we met was lovely, wanting to shake your hand, wish you a good day or wave at you as you drove by.

Such an experience and one I’ll remember forever. 

This jet-setting life of mine can be exhausting at times 

For someone who loves travelling as much as I do, I actually hate the travel. I know, weird right? 

In order to get from Kenya to Cape Town we had to travel for about 13 hours.

We endured an extremely unpleasant flight from the Mara to Wilson Airport on a propeller plane that resembled the inside of a Smarties tube, before driving 45 minutes to Nairobi Airport, leaving us 10 minutes to get through security and board, to then fly six hours to Cape Town.

And then an additional hour’s commute to the hotel in Cape Town.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth it when you get there, but I have the devil on my shoulder complaining that it’s so tiring!