FUTURE CAPE TOWN | Voices of the City: Yazeed Kamaldien

“Cape Town would like to think it’s international but it’s really just a small dorpie compared to what’s out there”

yazeed kamaldien

This week’s Voice of the City is Cape Town-based journalist and photographer, Yazeed Kamaldien, who is at the heart of reporting major news in Cape Town and the world.

Future Cape Town Support Us LogoVoices of the City is a weekly feature that spotlights the everyday lives of our citizens, living and working in the city. By asking the same five questions to all our interviewees, we discover not only how our experiences of the city differ, but also what we share. It is a daunting task to try and capture the diverse experiences of our city’s inhabitants, but we feel that it is a worthy, and necessary, endeavor, in order to better understand the present and future of our city. 


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Question: What about Cape Town inspires you the most?

The natural beauty is always mind blowing. I love spending time in the nature that surrounds the city. That said, this city is not only a mountain and oceans. It is also about the different cultures and people in our city. The future possibility we have, without the race tensions, that’s something to look forward to. That’s inspiring.

documentary film Inside Syria INSIDE SYRIAYazeed presented his short to his city on 15 April at Greenmarket Square giving insight on the humanitarian situation in Kobane after attacks from the Islamic state as well as the US-led coalition airstrikes.



QDo you have a secret space or place that you enjoy in the city?.

It defeats the purpose if one tells the secret space… but a place that I’ve enjoyed over the many years is late afternoons at Mesopotamia restaurant on Long Street. The food and Kurdish coffee is amazing. I’ve known the owner since I was a teenager, even before my days of working as a journalist. And then when I was a journalist I’ve taken so many people there to do interviews with them. And whenever I have guests from out of town, I like to take them there too, especially on nights when the belly dancer is in action.

Q: What was the last exciting event you attended in the city?

The Rhodes Must Fall protests at the University of Cape Town have been very exciting to attend. It signals that our city is ready to tackle and talk about difficult but important matters that affect us and our well being. We have to find ways to transform and reconcile South Africa. When I read that Cape Town is the most racist city in South Africa, that hurts me. Because this is not the way that I want to be or the city that I want to live in. And it’s not what I want to cultivate around me either.

Visit Yazeed’s blog

Q: What frustrates you about the city?

At the risk of sounding like a cliche: that it’s so slow. I’ve lived in other cities. Bigger cities. With more people, more streets and restaurants that don’t close their kitchens at 10pm. I enjoy the buzz of 24/7 cities and Cape Town would like to think it’s international but it’s really just a small dorpie compared to what’s out there. I wish Capetonians would feel less precious about the criticisms, also about the city, and just take it in their stride and make it a better city, instead of telling people to leave if they don’t like it. And wake up. We have so much still to achieve. We can’t be complacent. We have to compete globally and not just with these cosmetic titles like World Design Capital that cost a lot of money but has no legacy. It is forgotten.

QYou can have dinner with one person living or dead. Who is it and why?

My grandfather. Either one of them. Because they died when I was very young and it would be wonderful to learn some good old school values and lessons from them. Just to see what sort of guys they were.