Today we visited the University of Cape Town to learn about Cecil John Rhodes and his impact on South Africa. Rhodes is actually the creator of Rhodes scholar award and where the country Zimbabwe name originally was Rhodesia. Our tour guide Arlene explained to us the major influence and the power Mr. Rhodes had on South Africa, especially Cape Town. Arlene also ask us to discover our true self-identity while on the trip and to discover who we really are and not who people (society, family& peers) wants us to be.
After touring the Rhodes Memorial we drove to the village of Langa within Cape Town for a lesson in speaking Xhosa. Arlene even took us to Thembani Primary School to meet with one of the teachers, Gladys who was going to teach us Xhosa. While we were driving through the streets of Langa, it was the first time we were expose to a poverty area in the South African community. As we pulled up to Thembani Primary, we drove through the gates of the school that
were lined with barbed wire on the top. The children were outside playing for recess, while they were playing I noticed there was no jungle gym or balls to play with. As Gladys’s was giving us a tour she explained that school was old and has been open for a long time. The schools has limited funds however what the students need the teachers get together and take up a collection or fund raise. They were the first school in the district to even receive computers.
Upon entering the classroom the kids waved and smiled. Gladys took us to a seventh grade classroom to learn some Xhosa. Gladys took turns calling on children to show us how to say common Xhosa phrases such as “how are you, mom, dad, thank you, good morning” etc. After teaching us some phrases they sang to us… Their signing really touch my heart and after their performance we gave them the biggest applause we could. After our lesson we walked around for a bit and then it was time for us to go just as the children were leaving school for home. My classmates asked if it would be okay to take some photos of the kids and when they had their camera’s pulled out the kids just ran towards them because they saw cameras and wanted their picture taken. I instantly was overjoy at the scene but I think the people with cameras was a little over whelmed. Several students took pictures with the children including me.
Our next stop was the Langa Civic center for an African drum lesson. It was incredible and totally fun. Some students learned a simple African beat while three of us Rachel, Anna me played on the marimba while our teachers coached us in South African beats. I was so off beat it was funny, I just couldn’t keep the rhythm. However the drums were calling to my core that whenever I heard them I felt a tug or pull whenever they sounded.
Then after our performance we got to see a mini play, or skit showing us what it was like to cast their first vote as free men after the end of apartheid in 1994. It was very touching and moving. Once the mini play was over we got to tour the neighborhood. I leaned that only one street was built to enter and leave Langa because the governments overall goal was to keep Africans confined to their townships. I tried to picture how it was in the old days with the bribe wire fences up and people filled with despair of being opposed.