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Cape Town

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Traditional Music of Southern Africa, "Zulu Song"

South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, with a coastline that stretches from Namibia on the Atlantic coast, southwards around the tip of Africa, and around to Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. The Cape Peninsula, with Table Mountain, Devil's Peak and Lion's Head, form a mountainous spine jutting into the Atlantic Ocean.

Located along the peninsula is Cape Town, the oldest city in South Africa. It was founded by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, and became a major supply station for ships. Cape Town is about 30 miles north of the Cape of Good Hope, a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the peninsula. The Cape of Good Hope marks the point where one begins to travel more eastward than southward. The area has great significance to sailors, as the waters around the tip of Africa are among the most dangerous in the world.

The weather conditions in Cape Town are subtropical, relatively dry, with hot and sunny weather from mid-October to mid-February, and dry, sunny, crisp days and cold nights from May to July.

Whaling ships would land at one of three ports: Cape Town in the western Cape, Port Elizabeth in the eastern Cape or Durban in Natal. Only Cape Town had a breakwater which protected ships from the surf. Table Bay saw many wrecks due to its exposure to north-westerly gales. The storms of 1857 and 1865 accounted for 24 shipwrecks off the Cape coast.

The waterfront collection of businesses including skin-drying, wool-processing, fish-smoking, soap making and boat-building establishments. The Cape Flats answered the demands for fresh farm produce, as well as vegetable.

The Zulus, one of a number of Bantu peoples inhabiting the southern part of the African continent, spread over a large part of South Africa during the 19th century. Their music might have been heard by whalemen arriving in Cape Town. To hear a clip of "Zulu Song", click on the "play music" button above.

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