Sunday, July 18, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010 1:17 AM Cape Town Time- UCT Dorms

My mama is famous worldwide.  Today was really cool. I had a chance to talk more to the South African RAs and such and that was a good experience. I found out definitively that I am black here, which is a relief I suppose. It would be weird to have some type of different distinction than back home. I feel more comfortable now than I did. One of the conversations that we had that really kind of allowed s to bond was about our mothers and about how they dealt with us when we were going through puberty and sex and all that. It was really cool to see some of the commonalities and differences between my experience and the black South Africans. With the understanding that I am American I feel a certain kinship with the black students more than I feel with many of the white study abroad students. That is I'm sure probably naïve of me and I'm sure I will find times when that proves untrue but it's how I feel right now. My moms will be pleased to know that many of the South African students were thrilled with some of my stories about her and they think you are cool.
We also had people come and talk to us about service opportunities while we are here. There was some really cool stuff and some stuff I thought was a little contrived and patronizing. The two that I really dug were one where you work with Youth In Prison. One of the things those youth are doing in hip-hop theatre as well as creating a magazine with poetry and prose about self-identity and how the world sees them. I think that is really cool and important work and there are a lot of issues around criminal recidivism that mirror the US. Also the other program I thought was cool was a program where there is a charter school started in the townships that focuses on cultivating black talent and skill in science and mathematics. The guy who spoke of the program was the least flashy and didn't bring a powerpoint or try to pander to the American students to get us to want to work for them but he seemed to really believe in the importance and power of his work and that was inspiring. He was also an educated cat who reached back to where he came from and continues to live there and work for the betterment of that community rather than go for personal gain. I feel that. He spoke about how many of his favorite American rappers talk about getting out of the hood and not how they can give back and provide a blueprint for the people back there.  Dude was legit. I would like to work with both of those organizations if I can work it out with my class schedule and everything.
We also have a break so I'm thinking about traveling with some of the other students around South Africa. It would be cool to see more of the country and then to see wild animals and all that jazz. Who knows what will happen?
Also went to a bar tonight and had a good conversation with some folks about raced, privilege, and education. South Africa is pretty cool thus far. We shall see.
"from a woman and man, i was not a mistake. from the cradle of god, and the cradle of earth…"
-idris goodwin

1 comment:

Anastasia Curwood said...

I was dismayed to find out that I was not black in ZA. But at least I was complimented one day as I sat at a coffeehouse in Cape Town. The person at the next table said I looked like a South African instead of an American!