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I firmly believe that Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Cascading mountains, unique flora and fauna, gentle coastlines with gentle sunsets. This weekend, I climbed Devil’s Peak, and when the clouds clear up, it gives an unreal view of the city. I could see Lion’s Head, Table Mountain, and the miles of the city below us stretching to the ocean and beyond. When I first came to Cape Town, the mountains were the thing that excited me the most. I had grown up in the Midwest where the mountains were too small and too far to climb and the terrain far too ugly to want to see. So, coming to Cape Town where the mountains and its landscape were just an Uber ride away was a dream come true for me.

At one of our guest dinners, our speaker Kyla Hazell told us that the more time she spends in Cape Town, the more she realizes that the things that she had loved so about the city, were some of the biggest symbols of inequality. The people who can hike the mountain and sees its views are those who live on the mountain, where the properties are expensive and almost always white-owned. Many more Cape Townians will spend their lives staring up at Table Mountain, never setting foot at the base.

And I saw this as I hiked Devil’s Peak. I saw mostly foreign tourists in large packs rapidly speaking in European languages. I saw other similar students’ groups to our own DukeEngage. I saw white locals climbing up with their dogs. It was an overwhelmingly white space. It was only these people that got to see Cape Town from the peak. I had always regarded hiking as an accessible sport. For me, all you need is a pair of sneakers and a bottle of water. But as I learned, the simple activity of hiking is much more complex. It is about who is close enough to the mountain. It is about who has the free time to be able to hike.

Even though Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it blows my mind that its beauty too has been made unequal and inaccessible.