Home, somewhat tired, but back in the swing of things with a search interview this AM. How does one remember and evaluate two compact weeks of travel? Reflect first.
With our evening debriefing, others noted that the tour of Robben Island seemed somewhat tame, perhaps even sanitized. I started rolling through my pictures of Robben Island and noted that there were some changes. The cell [I believe it to be the same] that had contained a sign noting it as a residence of Nelson Mandela, no longer had the sign or the camber pot that had to be cleaned each morning. Instead there was a simple pad and blankets that were the normal offering to all prisoners. I remember a harshness from the former prisoners who gave life to the roughness of their incarceration. Maybe the presenters have mellowed, how long can one maintain an anger? While I had the opportunity to go into the limestone pit seven years earlier, they now want to preserve the area by not letting people go into the pit, apparently for some pictures were not enough, but they chose to gather a piece of history.
While shopping was done sporadically during the trip, the craft stores at the Harbor, captured attention and Rand [dollars].
Tuesday brought the Rev. Deon Snyman of the Restitution Foundation into our lives. In meeting the LTSP at the Crypt coffee shop under St. Georges Cathedral, he introduced himself as the child of an Afrikaner. In ministry in a township church, his father noted that he may not be able to change, but he was offering his son to the congregation so that they might teach the son about being a good pastor and a good South African, and perhaps his son could work on him. The Restitution Foundation, sees its role as first explaining the need for a final phase after Truth and Reconciliation, and that is restitution. It is first to be defined and then to see how it works for individuals and for communities. Finally they work to provide financial support for those who need assistance in development projects. They will work in partnership with businesses with good business plans, but difficulty in securing bank loans. The foundation’s support is that they will guarantee the interest on the loan from a lending institution. Interesting form of support.
St. George’s Cathedral- The Arch Bishop’s Church – the seat of many conversations and demonstrations involving Desmond Tutu. The church celebrates its historic role in the anti-apartheid movement. The church continues to celebrate its role in continuing to serve all of humanity in Cape Town. The church has signs that proclaim it to be an HIV friendly place, with some daily services dedicated to those suffering from the disease.
District Six Museum. What does it mean to do Urban Renewal of stable neighborhoods that are inter-racial, inter-cultural, and the first stop for immigrants to a new country, for the simple fulfillment of a group areas act which said that races have to be separate. Only in the last decade has there been significant development of the area that was closed due to the 1948 Group Areas act. Victims run the Museum, offer the tours and tell their own stories of seeking restitution even today.
Cape Point – not really the southernmost tip of South Afria, but close enough for those of us from the northern hemisphere. Rounding the Cape of Good Hope seemed to be a goal of all mariners, but the reality it was also a treacherous section of the sea lanes for many years. The Baboons poised for pictures, but unlike our last trip did not see food available that could be taken from unsuspecting tourists. The Penguin rookery was as usual fascinating, with babes in dark brown coats who could not swim, to maturing blue grey youth about ready to take the first dip in the ocean and lots of pairs sharing the responsibility of parenting.
Simon’s Town – One of the last hold outs in the Group Areas act resettlement. As a fishing port Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town were places where the races had intermingled and intermarried for over 100 years. Families covered all shades and textures of hair and other distinctions that the apartheid government chose to use as tools of racial identification. We arrived late by the hosts gave us quick access and even a personal story in the half hour we had prior to their closing.
On Thursday, June 9th on a guess and google map, we headed toward the Black owned winery M’hudi. Diale Rangaka - Viticulturist/Export Marketer, shared his personal story of being an English Liturature teacher, who yearned for a farm similar to the one he grew up on near Rustenberg. Though a university professor and his wife were professionals, they chose to go on a family adventure buying a vineyard in 2002. They are the only Black family owned winery in South Africa. Without advance notice he regaled us in conversation and wine tasting for nearly two hours. [I do not drink and drive on the left side of the road.] This true note of hospitality was most appreciated as we ended our time in South Africa.
Four flights later we are back in the US, recuperating and resting for the next educational adventure. Safe travels, thanks be to God.