When a city is as naturally spectacular and unique as Cape Town, it is bound to be the topic of many stories, tales and myths. I have already told you about old Van Hunks who had been dared to a pipe smoking competition with the devil. And as you can imagine, Table Mountain’s unique shape and location will make any traveller wonder about its origin.

Once such tale that has been passed on through the ages amongst the African Xhosa people, is the story of Qamata. Qamata is said to be the child of the Xhosa sun god Thixo, and the earth goddess, Jobela. According to Wikipedia ‘there are few certain beliefs about Qamata other than that he is omnipresent and that there is no other being like him.’ Some believe he is the creator of the world and so powerful that he does not concern himself with mortal affairs.

Legend has it that while Qamata was in the process of creating land a jealous sea dragon attempted to stop him. This dragon, named Nkanyamba, attacked Qatama and a ferocious battle ensued. Qatama’s mother Jobela, stepped in to help her son fight this epic war. Together they were more powerful than any other beings. She created four giants to protect her son while he continued to create the earth. The giants were placed strategically across the world, the biggest and most fierce giant known as Umlindi Wemingizimu (Watcher of the South) was placed in what is now known as Cape Town. Once Qamata completed the land the giants died and Jobela turned them into stone. And so, Table Mountain now watches over its inhabitants protectively. There are a few different versions of this myth, but basically it comes down to the same ending: Table Mountain was once an incredible giant who protected its land from a horrible sea dragon.

The fierce and stormy Atlantic Ocean also features in many stories of ships, sailors and the many lives it has claimed. The story of the Flying Dutchman is probably one of the most famous. The phantom vessel has been spotted for centuries not able to round the Cape of Good Hope, where it is said to have perished during a heavy storm. The captain of the ship was a stubborn man and refused to turn back, vowing to keep sailing even if it killed him. Enough said. Any sea farer will tell you that spotting the Flying Dutchman is not a good omen.

There are so many amazing stories that go back far into history and will entertain you for hours! Why not practise your English by reading a few of these? There are many websites that will provide you with many different versions of each interesting tale.

 

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