So the day got off to a good start – I had to rescue 👨🏻twice, as he got on the wrong minibus, twice. Not a good sign on day 4 of the holiday, especially as I thought that I’d not been misbehaving too much.
I hadn’t intended to write a post tonight, but the thoughts and lessons from today stood on their own. I remember discussions about the apartheid regime in South Africa when I was growing up. I find it difficult to believe that something so wrong was happening so recently – to put it into context, two of my children had already been born before it ended. Our guides in Langa, and on Robben Island spoke the language of positivity, of education as the way forward – “we can’t change the past, but we can learn and change the future”. But I got the feeling as they describe their lives and the lives of their communities, that the country still doesn’t properly “own its past”. Until it does that, in a similar way that Germany has started to “own its past”, you get a feeling that there is a still much to be done. However in a tribute to their positivity I have used a photograph of our beautiful guide from this afternoon as the featured image for this post. Her name means “Happiness” – very apt.
We went to the Township of Langa. This was an inspiring visit. There are some very talented individuals. Their talent is not just about their craft, but more importantly about their leadership. They are using all these talents to help their community. You can see evidence in the photos of how they use their crafts in the superb mosaics, and the delicate sand art and pottery. Their leadership is evidenced by the understanding of the community that “tourists” are beneficial both financially and as a means to support and spread that education, and the visible “Beverley Hills” area of Langa – bigger houses, with cars for those that have become more successful. These individuals have not left the community but remain because they want to, as despite their change in “social status” we were told that there is no animosity towards them. Another great vegetable garden that I envy!
I’d never heard of District 6, before today. 60,000 people displaced because the government intended to make it a “white only” area. The museum is a very human and personal tribute to the people that lived there, with the huge floor street map with its handwritten annotations and the personalised wall hangings and photo exhibits
Most people have heard of Robben Island and Nelson Mandela. But to hear the story from the mouth of a former political prisoner is truly humbling.