Just because you're staying at a luxury hotel in one of the world's hottest destinations doesn't mean you can't help the local community you're visiting.
That's the philosophy at the five-star Table Bay Hotel on Cape Town's Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, where guests are being encouraged to give an afternoon—or an entire day—helping clean up streets in the nearby Langa township.
Langa was one of the areas where blacks were forced to live under apartheid rule. it's one of the oldest townships in Cape Town, and currently one of the poorest areas of greater Cape Town.
The Table Bay's "One Street at a Time" project is aimed at making Langa a sustainable tourism hotspot.
First up is historic Harlem Avenue. The Table Bay is donating all the hardware, supplies, and manpower for cleaning up and restoring the commercial street. And they want guests to pitch in. Among the historic homes up for restoration is one that belonged to Chris Hani, the famed anti-apartheid activist.
Not bad for a hotel where rooms start at $575 per night.
Perhaps the Table Bay is in the business of redemption as well as restoration...
Sun International, the chain that owns the hotel, has a checkered history. In the 1980s, its Sun City resort complex became the target of anti-apartheid campaigners.
Sun City was located in the apartheid "bantustan" of Bophutathswana, a nominally independent "homeland" set up by the white regime for black South Africans. The bantustans were never recognized by any other country. A boatload of artists, including Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen, Herbie Hancock, George Clinton and U2, recorded the protest song "Sun City" in 1985 to proclaim that they would not play the segregated venue.
Sun City reintegrated with the end of apartheid in 1994.