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Smoke and Mirrors

Housed in a historic, Hogwartsesque mansion complete with hidden doorways and creaking staircases, the Cape Town College of Magic offers a space where students from every part of this rigidly divided city can come together to learn the art of wizardry.

It has been running since the 1980s, when it started offering ethnically mixed classes in defiance of apartheid laws, and has been turning out some of the continent's most gifted illusionists ever since.

For many of its students, their time at the school is their only proper exposure to other social groups. Studies have linked learning magic to a slew of physical and psychological benefits such as improved focus, lateral thinking, self confidence and an aptitude for teamwork, among many others.

And for the students from the city's townships in particular, magic offers an effective, albeit unconventional, route out of poverty.
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