Garth the Cape Town Vegan on slowing down and rekindling creativity: Green Route

In this week’s Lockdown Life I chat to Garth Tavares, AKA The Cape Town Vegan. Illustration by @Wildflowersandwildfires

Lockdown Life is an occasional series that started with Pamela McOnie from Cape Town Eats

How old are you, where did you grow up, what did you study, and when did you become interested in veganism?

I am 37 years young.

I was born in Cape Town but moved to Port Elizabeth when I was 9 years old. I believe PE to be one of the best places to grow up and an even better training ground for the arts: which is the career I am predominantly involved in now.

I studied a BA in Media, Communications, and Culture, which quickly shifted to a BMus when I decided to follow my passion for music instead.

I became interested in veganism after visiting a spiritual card reader who predicted that I would become 100% vegan, at a time when I was eating all meat and no veg!

Where do you live? Do you share your home with anyone? Any pets?

I live with Matt, my partner, in an apartment in Sea Point with a gorgeous view of the ocean. We are both very fortunate to have found this specific home, which really resonated with us. Unfortunately, our landlord has a “no pets” policy. It’s probably a good thing because we’d have at least two dogs and a cat!

When and why did you start Cape Town Vegan and what did you offer pre-lockdown/during lockdown?

I started it as a directory to keep track of the few vegan offerings the Mother City had to offer five years ago. Little did I know it would grow into the vegan monster it has become!

One of the most popular pages on my website is the “Eateries by Suburb” page. I have updated this to reflect all the eateries in and around Cape Town and it’s surroundings that are doing home delivery services.

What has been the effect of lockdown on your working life/Cape Town Vegan life?

It has given me the chance to slow down, take a step back, and reassess what really matters to me at this time. This may sound somewhat cliched, but being permanently “busy” has made me lose a lot of myself. While the lockdown has brought tragedy to virtually every family across South Africa, mine included, I have tried to find the silver lining. I have used the time to be gentle with myself and rekindle some creativity I have lost along the way in the past few years.

Lockdown Life:  Garth’s Five Favourite green spaces and places within 5km

  1. The Sea Point Promenade
  2. The V&A Waterfront, completely uninhabited, spending time with the seals who are all sunbathing.
  3. My couch in my lounge at 4pm when the sun is streaming through the balcony window
  4. Our apartment block’s front garden where we do “steps” to get some exercise!
  5. My favourite place to get lost: in a book, as I’ve been able to travel ANYWHERE with some of the novels I have been reading.

What gets you through a lockdown day food-wise? Portion size! I’m an emotional eater. HAHA! So if the portion size is decent, I’m good!

What do you appreciate most about lockdown? The solitude.

What makes you happy? Making other people happy.

I interviewed Garth for Daily Maverick last year. If you’d like to read the story click here

For Garth’s Top 5 picks of vegan grocery stores, restaurants and cafes in Cape Town see here

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Published by Melanie Farrell

Founder of Green Route ZA - the path to eco-conscious living. I live in Cape Town, South Africa.

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