September 7, 2014

Today, we got up and went to the Apartheid museum. Obviously, I learned about the Apartheid in school, but entering through separate doors, reading the stories,  and seeing the exhibits really humbled me. It saddens me that throughout history europeans have come to lands that is not theirs, kill the natives, steal the land, and feel justified in their doings. How can you sleep at night? I had no idea about the severity of the Apartheid. It reminded me a lot of segregation in the United States. Yesterday, one of the ladies on the boat ride almost cried, because, in the distance, she saw a group of black South African boys playing in the river water. She said that not too long ago they would not have been able to do that. Seeing them play at the river banks reminded her that they were actually free. For that reason, she wanted to cry. As I read about the many folks who fought to reunite the land and went to the noose room of the 131 people that were hung for protesting the Apartheid, I felt a deep sense of sadness, anger, gratitude, and hope all at the same time. The video clips of teenagers carrying dead teenagers was unforgetable. This reality put life into perspective for me. The people who sacrified lived a life of meaning. I too want to live a life of meaning.

After the Apartheid museum, we went to downtown JoBurg to hang out a Art on Main street. The entire area was so NYC it was not funny. It was very hipster chic. we shopped, walked, ate, and talked. We bought lunch at the market; it was a Mozambique seafood stirfry. The room was packed so we struggled to find a seat. We saw a little bit of room across the lunch table from a white couple. We went to sit, and the woman made some comment as to saying there was not enough room. I looked at her, ignoring her comment, and sat down. This lady did not understand that I was fresh out of the Apartheid musuem and that it would take only a little gasoline to fire me up at this point. She eyed my friend up and down the entire time. We did our best to ignore her and enjoy our last day in Johannesburg. The wounds of racial separation are still very fresh in this country. It was an eye-opening experience to feel it.

Later, we went the the Lesedi Cultural Center, where we learned about tribes like the Zulu. We even learned about the tribe in which Mandela was raised. We visited, took photos in and around the huts, danced, and of course...shopped! I felt blessed to learn so much about this country.

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