BETWEEN the ocean and the mountain, there’s the unfinished highway. It is an odd-looking landmark in a beautiful city: sections of elevated road left suspended in mid-air when construction stopped in the 1970s. Four decades later, the hulking slabs of concrete still end in precipitous drops. A glossy brochure of Cape Town film locations proclaims the cut-off highway “truly special”, with “great city views”. It makes an edgy backdrop for TV commercials and fashion shoots, and looms over an episode of the science-fiction series “Black Mirror”.
This may soon come to an end. The unfinished highway could become part of a plan to help overcome a legacy of apartheid—while also easing traffic jams.
Like other South African cities, Cape Town remains largely segregated, despite the advent of democracy in 1994. Under apartheid, black and mixed-race people were forced to live in the worst areas, far away from the whites and from work. Today they are free to live where they choose, but mostly cannot afford to live in the old “white” areas. Space in Cape Town’s downtown core and seaboard is limited, and homes are expensive. So the poor have to travel long…Continue reading