Our time in the Eastern Cape has been as fun as it has been busy. Since our time in and around King William's Town, we have seen many historical sights and have been constantly on the move from one place to the next!
Move and Groove
Since our arrival on Wednesday night, we have been hosted by the Steve Biko Center. They have fed us well and have kept us busy! Starting on Thursday we toured the Steve Biko museum and the center itself. Steve Biko was a leader of the Black Consciousness Movement during apartheid. He published many of his thoughts and ideas in I Write What I Like, from which we have read excerpts for our class. The government eventually banned Biko from publishing and placed him on house arrest in King William's Town. During our stay, we have been to Biko's house, the location of his offices (which have now been demolished), the clinic he founded, Victoria Grounds (where his funeral was held), and his grave site. We have also visited the Bhisho Massacre Memorial and the Last Grave at Dimbaza. All of these sites have historical significance and played a substantial role in fighting the apartheid regime.
We have also been able to attend one poetry night and one jazz night at the Biko Center. During the poetry night (or rather an open mic night), we were able to hear members of the Steve Biko Center and the community perform their favorite songs and original poetry. Some members of our group offered up their own song stylings and blew the crowd away. Genevieve once again performed (this time with our leader Martin) and Emma H. stunned the audience with a rendition of a very popular South African song. During one part of her song, Emma even had some community members come up and act as back-up singers and dancers! For the finale, some of us were pulled forward to dance. Following poetry night, we attended a jazz night. At one point, all twenty of us hit the dance floor. Not surprisingly, our professors put us to shame with their killer dance moves (especially Nancy). Needless to say, both nights served as a great way to unwind and connect with the people of King William's Town.
Rise and Shine: It's Beach Time!
Saturday began quite early as we headed for a day in East London. We did some more community touring and were able to see the varying demographics of the Eastern Cape. As our tour guide put it, we saw people who were very poor, poor, middle class, rich, and very rich. However, the highlight of our day was when we not only got to see, but we also were able to immerse ourselves in the Indian Ocean! The view is completely indescribable (hence why we've attached a picture). We were able to splash in the waves, walk along the beach, and sunbathe. There is nothing like the feeling of sand between your toes on a hot January day!
Today we will head out for our first reading/writing/hiking retreat near Port Elizabeth. We are unsure when we will have wifi next, but be sure to keep checking back. We know that our next couple of days will include relaxing, reflecting, and more than likely, more time at the beach!