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Voices of the City: Caryn Gootkin




Voices of the City is a weekly feature that spotlights the everyday lives of our citizens, living and working in cities. 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 cities. 
This week, we hear from Cape Town resident, Caryn Gootkin. Gootkin read law at Trinity Hall College, Cambridge and later became an attorney. Gootkin left the legal profession in 2009 and now works as a writer and copy-editor. She writes a regular column for The Media Online and serves on the board of directors of The Big Issue South Africa. 
Journalist, Caryn Gootkin.

Journalist, Caryn Gootkin.

Question: What about Cape Town inspires you the most?

Answer: It has a pulse and rhythm entirely of its own, a (sometimes harmonious) melody made up of the different people, languages, cultures who call this magnificent city home. It energises me while tugging at my heart strings.

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

A: There is a beautiful bench on the slopes of Table Mountain, off the road that leads to the cable car. Sitting there far from the buzz of the city gives me an amazing sense of calm and perspective. It’s been too long; I need to go there again.

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

A: The Uthando Benefit Concert at the City Hall – a heady mix of raw talent, energy, passion. The grandeur of the building provided the perfect backdrop to the amazing singers, dancers and performers. There was so much goodwill in that historic room; it left me with so much hope.

Q: What frustrates you about the city?

A: The poverty, the inequity, the suffering, the imbalance… Our city is not yet a city for all. The distances between us, both physical and those imposed by the othering of our minds, are too big. This grates me on so many levels.

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

A: My late ouma Daisy who beheaded chickens in her backyard, kept chameleons as pets and always had Wilsons caramels for me. Born in 1899, she lived through the appearance of two Halley’s comets. There is so much I never thought to ask her…

You can follow Caryn on Twitter: @inotherwordscg
Check out our website next week for the next Voices of the City interview.