Day 9

The question of how do we make a change? comes to mind when experience the culture around us. The walking tour stood out to me because the idea of corruption in South Africa is still existing today, post apartheid. being able to see and hear the experience of the culture shows a different side of things. It is just as important to view the culture with open eyes and an open mind just like when I stayed at the homestay.

Seeing challenges of how people said there are spaces in the area that are seen as “horrible” need to change and be recreated so it is be better for the community. he mentioned how corruption post -apartheid is cause and is to blame, one person which is the previous president. Black south Africans are at a disadvantage still because they are still struggling for access to parks, schools and homes. I learned that the challenges are still a challenged not just because of the apartheid but because of how the country is continuing to be run.

Later on in the day walking through the area seeing the different inspirations of graphite art showed a side of the city where people can express themselves through art. It represents the people as a culture. The colors, and the designs tell a story of the artist but also it can tell the story of political upbringing. It is important to recognize the surroundings of the culture in order to gain a new perspective. Using the culture differences and the way people express themselves is important to focus on. It is important because without understanding a culture and keeping an open mind the truths of a culture are recognized.

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Day 8

Visiting the Apartheid Museum I felt a little lost. It was very well done and so much information however I felt overwhelmed and I think it was because of having a tour guide. There is so much important information and a lot to cover so I can see why it might be helpful to have one. I feel for museums like the apartheid museum it is easier for me to experience it when I by myself. With the amount of detail and how heavy the subject it, I felt like I needed space while walking through it. For museums like this I need time before moving onto the next part to understand my feelings and take in what I just experienced.

Walking through the apartheid museum, the images and videos shown were so moving. They helped grasp the concept of what I have read and studied in the past. It helped me understand the hardships black Africans have gone through in order to survive. Focusing on the images I saw through out the museum and capturing them, as I think about my paper and the culture of today I will examine the information I gathered about certain people from the museum and connect it with how people are experience the South African culture today. I was able to focus on the experiences and what the culture was life during the apartheid. Now I am able to connect that experience with the stories I have been told and how I personally have been influenced and affected by the culture. Walking through the apartheid museum, the images and videos shown were so moving. They helped grasp the concept of what I have read and studied in the past. It helped me understand the hardships black Africans have gone through in order to survive. Focusing on the images I saw through out the museum and capturing them, as I think about my paper and the culture of today I will examine the information I gathered about certain people from the museum and connect it with how people are experience the South African culture today. I was able to focus on the experiences and what the culture was life during the apartheid. Now I am able to connect that experience with the stories I have been told and how I personally have been influenced and affected by the culture.

After hearing the story from Mamma about her experience in prison at Constitutional Hill. Being able to see and learn more about her experience was an eye opener. It helped me put together pieces of her story with information I learned from the tour guide. I would have to say visiting Constitutional Hill was one of the more moving and inspirational places we went to. It created an importance to why just reading about the past doesn’t do justice. I am now able to tell her story through what I have heard from her, the tour guide, and the pictures I captured of where she was held. I am able to go home and tell the truth about prison and the people who were placed there. Not only asking myself if they were sent to prison for the right reasons but I can share the information and ask others what they think. Doing research is to inform people why it is so important to listen to stories and witness what had happened through visiting these places, in order to spread the truth about the apartheid. It is to have discussion about the people and what they went through made them a stronger community.

Day 7

Started the day out being nervous and anxious about the homestay that was about to happen. When we arrived in Soweto Johannesburg we had lunch with the mamas where we were split off into our new homes for the night. I didn’t know what to expect but breaking the ice at lunch with a traditional African meal made me realize I had nothing to worry about. Before coming on this trip I really wanted to be able to experience the culture and I wanted to be able to say at the end of the trip that I am part of the culture and not just a tourist. I already felt welcomed when mama Lilian Keagile gave me a new name in Sotho calling me Bonolo meaning sweet, gentle, and simple. Along with my own name I was able to learn some phrases, which made me feel like I was finally apart of the culture. The house was a cute small house with a living room where we ate, talked and watched tv. Two bedrooms and a kitchen. As I had a homemade dinner, which was amazing, we discussed their life story and I shared mine.

As we ate dinner mama shared her story about when she was little during the apartheid. She shared her story of how she was arrested when she was 16 or 17 years old because of the color of her skin. She explained her story with such passion, as she was describing it I was being moved by every word, and facial expression she had. It was such an emotional time for her that she couldn’t finish her life story. What I got away from it was how important to just understand the emotion of the first part of her life, so I can go home and share it with my family, friends and classmates. through out the whole homestay I learned it is not about how much you have its about family. As I was staying their she called me one of her own, and I felt like I was one of her own even though I knew her for less than 24 hours. An Experience like this one is something I thought I would have never experienced. Being able to experience it I am now able to tell people they do face hardships but the community they make and the culture they create is something they are proud of. I have never felt more welcomed by who started out as strangers and now feels like family.

In between lunch and dinner with mammas, I finally was able to see Nelson Mandela’s home. After doing research and seeing movies about him, his family and were he lived, I was able to walk through his home. It was an opportunity for me to feel part of his life by physically being there and seeing all his awards and his life style. It was interesting because when see movies like “A Long Walk to Freedom” and comparing it to the actual house was not what I was expecting. The movies show his house much smaller, and more rundown. As I was thinking about this it shows how movie companies make alterations to what the actually house looks like, in order to show more of an affect. Making a connection and dreaming about the day to go to Mandela’s home was an experience I will never forget just like I will never forget this whole experience.

“Our Stories have to be documented. I think it’s the most beautiful Gift this family can give.” -Zindzi Mandela

Day 6

Today Being able to talk to Christo Brand demonstrated another reason for why it is so important to listen and be able to experience a story about the history of South Africa from someone who was apart of the history themselves. Discussion with Mr. Brand reminded me of my experience when I went on a trip called March of the Living, where I went to Poland and Israel for 2 weeks. This was were we experienced traveling to the different concentration camps and death camps but while we were there we were told personal stories from a holocaust survivor. It helped me put together why it was so incredible to listen to his story about him and Nelson Mandela.

Hearing Mr. Brand’s life story of how he became a guard and the relationship he created with Mandela tells beyond the stories we thought we knew. It gives the ability to understand history with a deeper meaning. Learning about it in a classroom, reading about or watching documentaries is like a puzzle missing its pieces. So hearing how he helped Mandela and who Mandela was as a person shows those missing pieces coming together. What I thought was interesting was when Mr. Brand was talking to Mandela and said you are never actually free because you always have security around you your whole life. I believe the freedom is being able to see how far one has come, despite of all the challenges and hardships they have faced. I was taken by surprise when I found out that how controlling the government was about releasing photos and information about Mandela because the amount of information we know that is one thing that was never discussed until today. So a discussion like this one from the morning is why it is so important for stories to be told, so we can share those little details with the world.

Being told we were going to District 6 museum I was unclear about what to fully expect. I didn’t understand what could be shown there since the people were taken away from there homes. Learning today just by walking in, the museum tells a story about the diverse population was faced with challenges of their homes, rights and culture were taken away from them. I learned how one museum can tell a story about many people who lost everything, found piece within family. It took me a while to process everything, to understand what this could have been like to experience but no words come to mind because there are no words to describe it besides telling Noorl’s story of his family, his history and what he has gone through. How he helped develop the District 6 museum and is able to tell his story to many people from all over, giving him a sense of pride.

“Believing God and Nelson Mandela forgives, is more important than hating. Because hating is not good for the heart.” -Noorl

Day 5

Waking up and going to the vineyard was an exciting moment. I thought vineyards were the same all around the world, with the same story of how it was created. What made this Vineyard so special was the story told behind it. Hearing how the different owners come in saying they are going to make a change to please the Indigenous people (slaves), and in the end the owners either took away their power or took away running water. When the third owner came he said he was going to make a change, just like the other two. This was a challenge because there was a lack of trust and promise between the Indigenous people and the owners of the land from the past. I was shocked when I heard this story because I didn’t know there could be such an amazing history on a vineyard.

I am always taken away by stories this one because of how they are told by someone who understands the culture and who has experienced what the history was like. Like yesterday she wasn’t part of this history but the stories were passed down and told to her from generations. Since she was telling the story from her prospective we were able to hear more than just the history about the vineyard. She told us how when she was in the bank the line was long, it wasn’t moving, and people were getting annoyed. She stepped out of line to see what was happening and she saw a man hunched over and shaking. When she approached him she asked him how she can help, he responded with appreciation; trusting there was something wrong and willing to get out of the line for him. She was wondering what was wrong with him and said he should see a Doctor but he said no and that is was because he started working at 6 years on a vineyard, as a result of working at a young age his body was constructed and stiffened. The way she explained this story goes to show how you cant judge a book by its cover and you need to understand the history of a person or culture. This demonstrates the importance of sharing and telling stories because with out them we would be left with repeating history.

“The Concept of life is not what you have, but it’s what you can give” -Mercia Malan

Day 4

Not going to Table Mount today and being able to experience an authentic shopping experience, was an exciting adventure. I was able to walk through stores and see items that I wouldn’t have been able to see in the United States. Walking through and being able to see a different culture through stores of artwork, jewelry, clothing and other objects was so interesting to see the materials that are being used, and the products they are able to make. One store we went to was a shop were each item was created by sustainable items and created in a green way. Something else that was interesting and unique about this store was whatever you got it was profiting a sustainability and new ways for them to create things that are beneficial to the environment. As we were looking at the stores we eventually made it to the designer store. This store sold items created by upcoming new designers only in South Africa. It had many of clothing options from casual, to fancy. I ended up buying a top and a romper. Buying these two items give me the opportunity to say I have an item that is only sold in Africa and is a part of their culture.

After the fun experience shopping, going to the parade created a new emotion of happiness, spirit and acceptance. Being at the parade it uplifted my worries about little things, the spirit was extraordinary. It shows the South African Culture coming together to celebrate New Years in a different and authentic way. I never thought I would see anything like this ever, but today I am lucky enough to say I have. It was amazing to see the different sections of South Africa come together and create a such a special day. Seeing all the different color outfits, instruments, dance moves and the energy they created was so moving because I was able to tell how much this day means to all of them.

Their excitement is seen through out the pictures I took of them. It was incredible how they stopped and would ask for a picture that they will never see. This made me think, if they will never see the photo ever, then what is the purpose. I thought a little deeper and its about them wanting to share how hard they work for this one day of the year. Also it give me the ability to tell people back home the story and significance about this day through the images and my personal experience. Not fully understanding what this day meant and was in the beginning, I have a better understand of how this day impacts many people. With out experiencing the parade, how New Years for South Africa is celebrated on the second day of the year because when they were slaves they were forced to work and couldn’t celebrate until the second day. I now have a better understanding of the meaning of this day and now I have the opportunity to share with many of others back home.

Day 3

Jennifer Eaves, spoke to me in a new and inspirational way. Music is a way to show emotion, identity, and tells a story about a person or a culture. Music to me has and always will be another outlook on life. Music can be a way for me to escape from what I am feel, it shows someone’s personality based off what they listen to and it sets a mood. Listening to Jennifer Eaves music told the stories of apartheid and the emotion of South Africa. Her music was inspirational to me because it helped me reflect on my own experience so far while being in South Africa and put together what I have experienced through as the days have gone by. I always knew how much music can mean with in a culture or for a person, but last night it came to a new level, I believe it was because I was hearing live from the artist herself, where it created a personal connection for me. This is important in cultural history because it can tell the story of the struggles and how far the culture has come.