We had to say goodbye to Johannesburg after a lovely five-day stay. We're off to the next part of our adventure at the Steve Biko Center in the Eastern Cape. Before we leave, we thought we'd update you on the past few days.
On Mondays, We Go to the Museum
Monday was a very full day starting before 8:30 a.m. and ending after 7:00 p.m. Monday came with a lot of heavier content so to speak, and we're struggling to find the words to shortly sum up the various experiences we had. Because we all had various reactions, we won't go too in depth here, which will allow everyone to share their own story when we get back. We began our day with a visit to the Apartheid Museum. One point that really resonated with us was that our tickets gave us an identity by classifying us by race at random, either white or non-white. Throughout the museum, we saw artifacts, read individual stories, and got to visit the temporary Nelson Mandela exhibit.
Following the museum, we were joined by Mandy who would be our tour guide around Soweto that afternoon. Soweto is known for the 1976 Student Uprising in opposition to the apartheid regime. During this uprising, students protested for their right to learn in English as opposed to being taught in the Dutch-imposed Afrikaans. We drove around parts of Soweto and also got out in a market area where we again helped support the local economy. We also saw the monument that honors the Freedom Charter of 1959. Next, we went to a shanty town within the area. Here we were able to see yet another side of South Africa. Another highlight of our tour of Soweto is when we were able to visit Regina Mundi, a Catholic church that helped protect protesters during the Student Uprising. We were able to walk in the footsteps of many famous leaders such as Bill Clinton, Michelle and Barack Obama, Samuel L. Jackson, and most importantly, Nelson Mandela. Speaking of Nelson Mandela, we were able to conclude our tour of Soweto with a visit to his house.
You Say "So-fee-ah," I Say "So-Fy-Uh"
Tuesday morning started with class during which we were able to hear about Luther alumna Danielle Koch's experience in the Peace Corps here is South Africa. Afterwards, we loaded the bus and left for yet another tour. This time we were off to Sophiatown (pronounced "So-fy-uh-town, but commonly mispronounced by visitors). Before apartheid, Sophiatown was a culturally and racially diverse community full of life. During apartheid, all citizens were forced out of their homes so that the community could be demolished and the area could be used as homes for white people. On our tour, we were able to see the four buildings that survived the removal. Today, Sophiatown is still home to a majority of white South Africans.
We've been busy journalling and packing our bags for our flight this afternoon to East London. We're looking forward to our arrival at the Steve Biko Center where we will continue our journey throughout South Africa. Most of us haven't seen the Indian Ocean before and are eager to get our toes wet.
Until next time!