Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010, 11:54 PM Jo’burg Time- Emthonjeni B&B (Soweto)

            ATTENTION EVERYBODY WHO WANTS TO CALL ME. SOUTH AFRICA IS 7 HOURS AHEAD OF CENTRAL TIME IN THE USA. That means that 5 PM in Nashville is midnight. Or 7 PM in New York is 1 AM. This morning I got a call at about 2:30 AM from Ashley Oliver. I wish you well at law school Ashley. I also wish you hadn't risen me from an already too short sleep. lol. It's all good. But anyway by the time I got back to bed I ended up oversleeping until 6 AM (the time our van was leaving for the airport). Needless to say, packing at night is a good thing. Made it to the airport. Security here is much more lax than London or the US (which makes sense I suppose). The flight was decent. Blah blah.

            We went to the Constitutional Court and the Constitutional Hill Jail. The tour was really interesting. Winnie and Nelson Mandela were there and Mahatma Gandhi. Some of the things that people were subjected too were really crazy and inhumane. The method of search was also terrible. This prison was also different because it housed white prisoners and prisoners of color. Because of this you got to see the difference in accommodation that you don't see at Robben Island (which was all men and all people of color). Some of these injustices were staggering. What I thought was really one of the wildest things was that if a woman was arrested with a child and there was nobody in Jo'burg to retrieve the child then the kid would serve the sentence alongside the mother. Wow.

            The Court was pretty cool. I really loved the design and some of the reasoning behind the design. Everything about it is very symbolic and even its placement at the center of a once notorious prison is significant.

            After that we went to Soweto and settled into our accommodations. I have my own room and the place is very nice. Soweto looks much nicer than the townships in Cape Town. It is visually a lot nicer and it actually reminds me a bit of Gretna, LA (suburb of New Orleans where my Great Aunt lives). We got a chance to walk about and do some people watching. It was pretty good. The particular area right by us was very much catering to tourists. There was a museum of Mandela's old house and plenty of merchants. Winnie Mandela also lives close to here and has a restaurant here.

            We left Soweto and went to Nelson Mandela Square. There we walked around the mall there for a bit and grabbed some food then we went to see a play. The play turned out to be a one-woman show. It was very interesting. The woman was a mixed race woman who had been born of an Australian mother and Ghanaian father. She was put up for adoption and adopted by a white family. She grew up being classified as white though she was fairly visibly "coloured". She encounters a lot of confusing situations because of this racial conundrum. Eventually she begins to explore political ideologies when she goes to college and her parents tell her the truth about her background. I bought the woman's book of poems afterward and got her to sign it. Excited to read it.

After the play the bus wouldn't start for about an hour. Kinda sucked but it's all good. We made it back to the B&B and now I'm about to knock out for tomorrow's day. Hope I don't get any calls tonight.

"your girl, your girl keep callin me"




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