The Table Mountain in Cape Town is not only a magnificent sight. It
is also the topic of several amazing myths, legends and stories.
The African Legend Qamata vs Nkanyamba.
This is the story of how Table Mountain was created, according to
the traditional beliefs of the Xhosa people. It all starts with one
of their most important gods, Qamata and his struggles to create
Qamata was the son of the sun god, Thixo, and the earth goddess,
Jobela. He wanted to create dry land, but the dragon of the seas,
Nkanyamba, was not pleased with that plan. The result was hard
battles where Qamatas mother, Jobela, created four giants to fight
against the sea dragon. Though, despite their size they could not
withstand the dragon and they all were defeated. And as they died
they all asked the earth goddess, Jobela, to turn them into
mountains so they could protect the land. Jobela did this, and the
giant of the south became what we today know as Table Mountain.
The Dutch Legend A Smoke Contest With The Devil.
This is the legend of Jan van Hunks and his passion for smoking.
Van Hunks lived in a house at the foot of the mountain that we
today call Devil’s Peak,
and his favorite activity was smoking. Every day he would sit on
the slopes of Devil’s Peak, smoking his pipe for hours. And then,
one day, a stranger came up to him. They both were bragging about
how much they could smoke, and they agreed to have a smoke contest.
As a passionate smoker, Van Hunks probably thought he could beat
anyone, but he did not know that the man he was competing against
was the devil himself.
They placed a huge pile of tobacco in between them, and started
puffing. Soon they were surrounded by smoke, and the cloud grew
bigger and bigger until it covered the entire Table Mountain. Van
Hunks had started to fear that he would actually loose the battle
when he finally saw the stranger giving up.
The man was too sick to continue, he leaned forward and the hat
fell off his head. And that was when Van Hunks could see who he was
up against. He had just beat the Devil in a smoking contest!
The devil was not pleased with losing against a human, and being a
bad loser, he clapped his hands and they both disappeared forever.
But the smoke is still there to this day, a huge cloud on top of
the Table Mountain, appropriately named the Table Cloth. And the
Devil’s Peak was named after the stranger who lost a smoking
contest on the mountain’s slopes.
A True Story of the Table Mountain.
The Table Mountain is not only the topic of old myths and legends.
This is the true story about how the Table Mountain became home to
a huge, but short lived, Gold Rush.
In 1856 a local auctioneer, Mr Saleem, came up with a plot to make
some quick money. He gave a piece of gold to his servant and asked
him to tell the people of Cape Town that he had found the gold in
the hills of Table Mountain. And not just that, he also said that
there was a whole ore of gold up there, and more to find for
whoever went to look for it. A scheme was successfully initiated.
As the rumour spread, people were racing to the mountain in order
to dig for this precious metal. And as they arrived at the gorge
where the gold was supposed to be hidden in the ground, they found
that Mr Salem had already set up a base where he sold exactly what
the men desired the most; beer, wine, spirit and sandwiches.
At twice the price of what he could charge in town, of course. But
the gold diggers were more than willing to pay, they were starving
and thirsty from working in the heat.
And surely they could afford it, soon their pockets would be full
The result was a five day gold rush in the Table Mountain, but no
gold. The gold Mr Salem had given his servant was found in
Australia years earlier.
The only wealth created in this gold rush was a very nice profit to
Mr Salem from his refreshments business.
Mr Salem fled the country soon after…
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Barry Blomkamp Nd. Bsc (UL)
Professional Public Speaker, Trainer and Corporate Entertainer,
Motivational speaker, Guest & Key note speaker, Seminar &
Conference speaker, Team Builder, Comedian, Master of Ceremonies,
For your Strategic Planning sessions, Management or Sales meetings,
Conferences and/or Seminars, Award functions, Year end parties,
Cape Town, South Africa.