The many faces of Roeland

Hello, my lovelies! In today’s episode of the ‘Hip and Happening’, I’ve decided to talk all things Roeland. So take a walk with me, and let’s discover what hidden gems may be found at this very quaint little part of Heaven.
If I could discribe RoelandStreet in just one sentence, I’d definitely have to allude that it is: a place where you’ll discover coffee shops, hippies in harem pants and the occasional protest, just for good measure.

Now for those of you who weren’t aware-and believe me, I was in exactly the same position until I began my studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)-Roeland Street is a road that can be found near the Cape Town CBD, which stretches from the CPUT Barc building right down to parliament, where all the political tit-for-tats and squabbles take place.

Image of CPUT Barc building (sourced from CPUT website)

Consequently, the abovementioned CPUT Barc building serves as the locale for young aspiring journalist and other media workers.
Many of our eager-faced students travel long distances in order to attend classes; the steep walk from the train station causing sweat to line our fervent foreheads, as our calves and thighs are shaped into those that would put even Brian Habana to shame. “After that long walk from the taxi rank, I already feel drained for the day” said Jade Khan, a first-year public relations student.
Our campus is placed on an incline right next to the Viglietti car company, which makes our lifestyle a cross between ‘Little House on The Prairie’ and ‘Fast and Furious’

Photographed By: Kauthar Gool. Viglietti Motors. 24 February 2016

But enough about semantics, let’s talk food and entertainment. After all, we don’t spend all our time in badly ventilated classrooms with the possibility of contracting acute Silicosis. That was a joke, by the way, as far as I know, no media-related injuries have been reported (as yet).

Coffee shops and interesting little restaurants seem to be the latest trend, creating a vibrant and ecclectic atmosphere that gives the place a very hippy-like feel. Besides your usual Vidae Cafe and Wembly Square, Roeland Street also hosts a very charming little coffee shop called The Blend. Not only are the coffee and Croissants to die for, The Blend also has regular poetry sessions, adding a certain ambiance to the overall environment.

Photographed by: Kauthar Gool. The Blend. 24 February 2016

And who could forget possibly Food Lovers Market and Fruit and Veg, which is a favourite amongst cash-strapped students (like myself), who are on the prowel for chicken-wraps and other healthy-ish savoury snacks to munch between classes.


Food Lovers

Photographed by: Kauthar Gool. Fruit and Veg. 24 February 2016

However, don’t let the laid-back exterior fool you, Roeland Street has also been the venue of much action and hurly-burly, particularly this past year. With Parliament just down the road, there have been many protests, that we, as journalists have been made privvy to. One such example would be the anti-corruption march that took place on the 30th of Septemer last year-which was not at all as successful as it could have been, due to unearthly weather conditions.

Journalism students where soaked through and through, slipping and sliding on mudded streets in order to find a unique angle to the march for our enthusiastic and mildly psychotic lecturer, Charles.

Photographed by: Kauthar Gool. Anti-corruption march. 24 February 2016

The very infamous and widely covered ‘Fees Must Fall’ protest occured just under a month thereafter. The ‘Fees Must Fall’ movement was started by the SRC of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)on the 14th of October 2015, due to the ridiculous 10% fee increment that was to be implemented at Universities in the year 2016.
On the 21 October 2015, Students from various Universities, came out to support this noble cause and fight an unjust system that they felt had done them wrong. During this event, history was definitely made as students broke through the gates of Parliament and demanded to be addressed by Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande. A small snippet of what happened on that fateful that can be found here.

Photographed by: Yolanda Klaas. Fees must fall, Parliament. 21 October 2015


The contrast between these very different faces which Roeland Street seems to don fascinates me greatly for some reason. The consrast between the bougeoisie driving around in their classic Ferari’s, to the poor cash-strapped students counting out coins in Fruit and Veg, is both endearing and shows how diverse and rich the city actually is.
The second contrast, which I have been mentioning throughout the piece deals with the disparity between the relaxed and creative side of Roeland in paradox with all the exciting and largely political action that takes place down at Parliament…..and so are the days of our Roeland-filled lives!



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