South Africa makes you think. This morning I took the Metrorail from Fishhoek on the Cape peninsula to Cape Town city centre. As we pulled into the station car park my host said “you’ll have to decide what ticket to buy, first class or third class.” As with so much in South Africa, there is no second class, no middling position. There’s the expensive carriage or the cheap one. Sensing my surprise, my host looked at my laptop bag and asked, “are you carrying your gear?“
“No, just my phone” I replied.
“Well then, you can go either way, but they’ll be more to see and hear with the people”.
First and third class on an urban light rail system? As an experiment I bought a first class ticket and took a trip through the train as it snaked its way up the peninsula, hugging the coast until it reaches Muizinberg. To the north lie the affluent suburbs, with their quaint, almost absurd English names, Kenilworth and Observatory. To the east lie the Cape flats where over two million people live, most below the poverty line, in former townships and rapidly growing informal settlements.