Cape Town’s nickname in South Africa is the “mother city” because it was the first European colony in this area. It was originally founded by the Dutch as a harbor to spend the winter and resupply ships.
People from the business capital of South Africa, Johannesburg (Egoli – the City Of Gold) jokingly refer to Cape Town as the ‘mother city’ because it takes 9 months to get anything done!
The violent winter seas in the area led to it being called the “Cape of Storms” and many ships have run aground along the coast of the peninsula that Cape Town is built upon. The first harbor was in the region now known as Simon’s Town (named after a Dutch governor) which is now a naval base and the home of a yacht club. The harbor was moved to its current location some years after the colony was established and part of the sea was reclaimed to form what is now known as the foreshore.
The fortress built by the Dutch (known as “the Castle” by Capetonians) has never fired a shot in anger even though the colony has passed hands between the Dutch, the English, the Apartheid government, and now to our democratic government. In fact the Castle overlooks the parade ground where Nelson Mandela gave his historic inauguration speech.