Today we went on Parliament Tour exploring South Africa’s government, laws, and policies. The tour was lead by a young man that was very excited meet us. The first detour on the tour was showing us the chamber that was built for the white government officials during apartheid. The second stop was the original chamber which was used by the women’s league. Our tour guide allowed us to sit in on their meeting for a few minutes. I was very happy to be able to see them and hear the important topics being discussed. While I was watching the women I instantly got inspired to stand for a clause and keep it close to my heart.
Today we went on a journey of remembrance with Clive Newman visiting townships that were for the black and colored citizens. Before we started our tour we stop at Cecil B. Rhodes memorial and looked at the view. There were many mountains tops, grassy areas, and beautiful houses and apartments. The view was just incredible and breathe taking. As we made our way to the first town I noticed the sign had smoke stakes symbols next to the name of the town. Once we arrived at the first township there wasn’t much grass and all the houses were built next to each other and cluttered behind each other. There wasn’t any room for children to play nor a yard for the parents/parent to enjoy. I was instantly sadden when I found out numerous of people were forced out of their homes to these unsettling conditions.Many informal housing covered the area instead of more stable larger residents. Clive also informed us that the street names consist of being Native Yard 1/NY1 and that the street numbers were not parallel to each other. Listening to Clive explain the conditions lots of individuals had to endure I can’t blame some people for passing as white. In the novel Playing in the Light I can understand why Marion parents left everything behind to pose as another race. As a human being you want to be valued and treated fairly, if a person is steadily getting kicked down then their self-worth plummets. Having to make the choice of posing as another race is not only a sacrifice but dangerous as well if they were ever found out. I feel that during Apartheid lives of several non-white individuals was hard and although some people were able to pass as white, they sacrifice their self-identity in the process. Overall this tour help me realize how much damage apartheid did to non-whites and understand the choices others made in order to better their lives.
Today we visited the District Six Museum with Ebraham he told us about District 6 community and how he used to live their when he was a child. He described to us the memories he had and how your next door neighbors also became your second set of parents. District 6 originally had a mixer of different ethnic groups that made up a community . Through the pictures I was able to see how lively the neighbor once was. I also was about to see how close the community become a tint knit group. I was sad to discovered that they were forced into removals to different townships that were set up for their own racial group. I found out their homes were knock down and the remains was dumped into the bottom of the ocean. It must have been very hard form them to leave their comfortable and secure surroundings for something unknown. I was sad to find out that sometimes several citizens would have to leave with just the clothes on their backs and whatever money that was in their pocket’s. This trip to the museum allowed me to see the effects the Group Area Act had on a neighbored and also the love the community still had for one another.
Today we visited the African arts whole sale market with Luke. We were able to look and scout all kinds of traditional art for a low price. The art was very beautiful and from different parts of Africa and different tribes. I definitely did not want any fertility art work yet! Lake took us on a small tour on long street were he showed us were we could also get some traditional clothing made.
The clothing was trends and patterns I never seen before. The designers are amazing and very talented. After shopping for a few hours we decided to shop for launch at Luke friend’s café. It was a very cozy and relaxed atmosphere that had a simple menu with delicious dessert. The chocolate cake that is served there is wonderful and pure joy. The cake was very moist and the chocolate was not over powering it actually was just right.
Later that evening we attended a play called Hayani at the Baxter theater. The play explores what home means in South Africa. The play portrays into two unique stories of how South Africans reveal themselves as complex, honest and journey towards understanding themselves as South Africans and what it means to be a South African. The actors were great entertainers as they play each other’s parents and siblings. There was also music in the background to capture it moment perfectly. The audience was able to go on a journey with them through their story telling. The play was also in English and Xhosa. Several times when the Xhosa language was used it was hard for me to follow but his body gesture and his facial moments helped a little.
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.
Today my classmates went to hike at Lion’s Head however, me and my roommate Demetris were unable to go because we were not feeling well. Dr. Murphy came in our room to check on us and ask did we want to go to the market with her and to run errands. I looked at Demetris then I looked at Dr. Murphy and responded, “no.” My stomach was hurting so bad I don’t think I could have made it a block. Before Dr. Murphy departed she gave me a pill that she thought would help me feel better. Once I took the pill I was out cold and and I woke up 2 hours before our other roommates made it back. Once they made it in, they were walking slowly to their beds and said, Lion’s head was beautiful but, it was hard to climb. Despite it being hard Jamie and Roneshia were happy they climb the mountain. I’m kinda of sad I was able to climb Lion’s Head too that must have been awesome.
Today we went to Hout Bay to visit a seal colony with our tour guide Alexei. Our guide Alex was incredibly knowledgeable and very outgoing and friendly! It was a day full of activities and fun including, visiting the African penguins at Boulders Beach, bike riding at the Cape of Good Hope National Park. Unfortunately I do not know how to ride a bike so I could not join my classmates. However, I did get a chance to see a ostrich which is rare this time of season and our tour guide Alexei was so talkative, informative, and cute. I didn’t mind at all being in his company. We stop at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve Center to step up lunch. Dr. Murphy and I went to explore and saw bontebonk, gecko, and tortoise. There was more bike riding after lunch but more individuals decided not to ride anymore so only Dr. Bredesen, Anna, and Rachel kept riding. While we The views from the light house are astonishingly beautiful! You have an almost 360 degree view of the oceans. we were able to see a Bontebonk, Ostrich, and some more bamboos. While touring we even saw a cluster of bamboos and one just laid in the middle of the road blocking traffic. The hike to the Light House was beautiful and amazing. Our guide did an amazing job informing us on the local history, animal species and plant diversity. He was very knowledgeable, friendly, and engaging. As we leaving, I just enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way home.