Destinations, Feature Trips, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Civil Rights and Chip Twisters in Mossel Bay

October 12, 2012

Mossel Bay: Europeans landed on this spot of southern African soil on February 3rd (my birthday!) in 1488, making their first contact with the indigenous inhabitants of the land.

The modern-day coastline community celebrates this piece of its history at the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, and travelers and locals alike are drawn to visit the 500 year old Post Office Tree on the museum grounds and the life-size replica of the Dias Caravel ship, sailed from Europe to the museum on a repeat of the original 15th century journey from Portugal to Mossel Bay and beyond.

We followed suit and paid a visit, curious to learn more and interested to see which angle they’d choose to highlight the region’s legacy.

The life-size replica of Dias Caravel accompanied by paintings and displays featuring modes of maritime transportation down through the centuries

Ducking under the 500+ year old Post Office Tree

The museum complex includes seashell collections, ethnobotanical displays, access to the freshwater fountain Aguada de Sao Bras (watering place of Saint Blaize), and a replica of the 1786 structure built by the Dutch East India Company, but our favorite was an unexpected temporary exhibit: “Separate is Not Equal: The Struggle Against Segregated Schooling in America” funded by the US Consulates General of Johannesburg and Cape Town and produced by the Apartheid Museum in cooperation with The Smithsonian Institution and The Levine Museum of the New South.

Convicting to look at my own nation’s history of segregation and abuse through a South African lens and recognize the connecting themes of violence, mistreatment, and passive silence responsible for destroy lives in both lands.

The exhibit followed the timeline of education in the United States, articulating stories of stubborn, insistent, passionate shifts across society.

The exhibit concluded with hopeful, optimistic images – evidences of true change brought about over time by efforts of those willing to stand for justice and let their voices be heard until they couldn’t be denied.

I’m grateful to have been raised in a home where we were taught to love and value all people, and just as I recognize the ongoing tensions as communities across our nation work to acknowledge, heal from, and overcome the painful past, I am hopeful for South Africa to continue pursuing healing from its societal wounds.

Ships and history are grand: even better are righted wrongs and hopeful shifts for the future.


Back outdoors on the Museum grounds, we walked down to beach access overlooking Mossel Bay. Later, we hunted more ocean-side fun farther down the coastline.

Can you spot Ted in his purple sweatshirt, playing chicken with the crashing waves?

Purely for the sake of random, light-hearted goodness, I leave you with this:

We tried a few restaurants in Mossel Bay. We went for fish and chips and shrugged our shoulders. We aimed for Cuban Food in memories of Pambiche in Portland (and missed, by the way; all atmosphere, no flavor). But when we found this fellow deep frying chip twisters and mini-donuts out on the waterfront, we knew we’d struck gold.

A very happy Oregonian in Mossel Bay.

(Nope: I’m not eating and driving. It’s a left-handed stick-shift, and Ted’s in the driver’s seat…)

Mossel Bay Tourism

Visit Mossel Bay on Facebook | @GetMe2MosselBay

Beautiful Accommodations in Mossel Bay
Read about our stay (and zippingly-fast wifi!) at African Oceans Guest House

Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex
Monday-Friday: 9am – 4:45pm
Weekends and Holidays: 9am – 3:45pm

Chip Twister Guy
Look for him along Point Road in the parking lots at the waterfront near the base of the Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse

This post is part of our €œtwoOregonians Tour the Cape series featuring quintessential and offbeat South African experiences, one-of-a-kind accommodations and beautiful B&Bs, respectful wildlife programs, social service projects, and landscape photography from the South African Cape. As always, all opinions, photos, and stories are our own; thanks to Mossel Bay Tourism for extending the invitation for us to come and visit.

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  • Reply Bethany's favorite brother October 13, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Those pictures on the Beach make me so jealous! Today was the first day of rain in a good span of dry weather. :/ I miss you guys! Cannot wait for you to come home! lol ( lots of love ;)

    • Reply Andrew Buck October 13, 2012 at 10:43 am

      Who is this? Jesse? Bethany’s favorite brother? I’ll bet you think you’re super clever.
      I agree with most of hat you said, though.

  • Reply Andrew Buck October 13, 2012 at 10:41 am

    You’re not eating and driving. That’s good. I mean, I guess it’s better than Ted driving and snapping pictures at the same time. : )

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      You’re so good at finding the hidden tidbits in our photos. Did you see the reflection in the car mirror?

      (Kidding. But tell the truth, did you look?)

      • Reply Andrew Buck October 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

        I didn’t look until now that you mentioned it. The question is, “What am I looking for?” I can’t make out whatever is showing up in the mirror…

    What say you?