Posted 2 years ago

Cape Town: A Series—POST II

The highlights of Cape Town are hands down Robben Island and Table Mountain. 

            For those who don’t know, Robben Island is most notoriously known as the place where The Old Man (Mandela) spent 18 trying years imprisoned between the years 1964-1982, thereafter being transferred to Pollsmoor Prison.  During the Rivonia Trials which began October of 1963, Mandela and 7 other political activists (Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi, Ahmed Kathrada, Denis Goldberg and Wilton Mkwayi), were being tried for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government.

            Still to this day I don’t understand how it’s a crime to plan to overthrow a government which really doesn’t serve “the people,” but more-so a specific group of persons. A government represents its’ people, not divides them, manipulates them, imprisons them, and slays generations off. When a government misrepresents its people, they have the right to govern themselves. If the government continues to objectify your people and try all kinds of strategies to silence an entire race, well…an overthrow sounds right to me.

But enough about of my rants.

            They were all convicted in 1964 & sentenced to life. As soon as I arrived at the ferry, I retrieved my ticket and immediately went to the gift shop. I wanted to buy a shirt that said “History is told depending on who writes it,” with The Old Man’s face on it, but it was 245 rand = around $38 A.K.A too much money for a fitted T-shirt. My grandmother could make that. Either way, I ended up settling for this hat. 

The numbers signifies the number Mandela was given when he was incarcerated. It represents more than just the fact that he was the 466th prisoner in 1964. It serves as a constant reminder of the sacrifices he prepared himself to make “for a humanitarian and social justice cause that he so passionately believed in.”

As we went through security and made our way onto the boat, we sailed for almost 45minutes.  It was a time for reflection. Although the waves were pretty intense, the ride was very relaxing. As I made a failed attempt to place myself in the shoes of Mandela, my mind was filled with thoughts. Firstly, what goes through your head when you, the voice for your people and warrior for a just cause is sentenced to life in prison? How do you cope with the fact that this boat ride could very well be a one-way destination? What is it that uplifted his spirits and gave him strength enough to keep on pushing on for 27years of imprisonment?

So while I was relaxing on the boat ride over, taking photos, Mandela was probably in deep thought, reflection and contemplation about his future and the future of South Africa. 

PHOTO: LUCAS RODGERS

WALKING INTO ROBBEN ISLAND

Our tour guide, Jama was a political activist in the 70s and helped to organize the 1976 student uprisings. He was imprisoned in Robben Island for five years between 1977-1982 and weirdly enough, he now works there. 

TOUR GUIDE JAMA

We learned a lot about the history of the island which was helpful in understanding the significance of its preservation now.

But enough about Robben Island. Let’s talk about Table Mountain: one of the most beautiful sites I’ve witnessed in my short 19years. It’s a mountain that overlooks Cape Town and is a huge tourist attraction.

TABLE MOUNTAIN FROM A DISTANCE

TAKING A BREAK FROM CLIMBING TO POSE

You have the option to take the cable car up to the top of the mountain or hike it. Me & my girls hiked…in the worse shoe gear possible might I add. 

BECKY CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN

 We kept passing people who was constantly questioning our ability to make it to the top. Now, although we didn’t make it ALL the way to the top, we made it as far as we could before realizing we would have to climb back down before the sun set. It would not have been fun climbing down that mountain in complete darkness.  

We were able to see the sunset on our way down from the mountains—a site a picture can’t even describe. But here’s one anyway. 

SUNSET- VIEW FROM ON THE MOUNTAIN


PHOTO: LAUREN HERTZLER

After we got back, we went clubbing. Made some new friends. A few of them. 

The club was fun. Not enough diverse music once again but I had a good time jumping around & trying to challange South African boys to their own music which I clearly had no idea how to do lol.

In the end it was an experience that I’ll take with me and remember for a lifetime. Its something that I can say “Been there, done that.”

It’s a place where friendships were established, rules were broken and fun was had. =) 

Posted 2 years ago

Happy Birthday Daddy! I love you & miss you so much! Hope you are enjoying your day! Don’t have too much fun without me. =) 

143.

Posted 2 years ago

I just thought I’d let everybody know that African is not a language. People in middle school & HS used to say that & it was stupid then. So if it was stupid then, being a college student and making ignorant remarks as such is even more stupid and very distasteful.

There are 11 different African languages in South Africa. In the entire African CONTINENT there must be around 3-4,000 native languages. I had to post this now because the comment "I’m sorry I don’t know how to spell African" was just written on the Facebook page …"You know You Go to Temple When.." & I couldn’t believe how serious this girl was.

I should’ve wrote “You know you belong in college when you know the difference between the African continent and African languages.” Or ANY continent & their languages for that matter. -__-

Moral of the story is: You can’t speak American because that -hit doesn’t exist. Neither does African. So chose your words wisely because words have the power to make you sound smarter than you are or sound just as dumb as you can be.

Posted 2 years ago

Cape Town: A Series — Part I

This weekend was eventful to say the least. I traveled to Cape Town with 8 of my other peers and unfortunately, it was one whole blur of a weekend; not from being intoxicated or any of the above, but simply from having anger built up in my mind and heart—But I’ll get to that one of the next blog posts.

Map of the location of hostel "Penthouse on Long"

First night…a joke. We check into a hostel called “Penthouse on Long.” Long Street is one of the major streets in Cape Town known to be a hangout spot and consider as the “party capital.” Looking for other hostels, hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs?—Long Street is good for it. Now usually I post photos, but I don’t have any photos of the hostel we stayed in because I don’t care to have any memories of the place and more-so the people. One of my friends here described it to have had a Drunk Addams Family feel and that to me describes it exactly.

For one, the guy that we spoke to via phone when reserving our rooms, Michael was completely drunk by the time we arrived Friday night at around 9pm. Already way too excited to be in Cape Town, overwhelmed by the geography of the city, and ready to get our night started, we made the unbelievably dumb decision to all get in a mini-bus with Michael’s designated driver and a few of his friends to 3 different clubs for R150. Cool.

We end up being almost 1 hour out into the city with no way of returning on our own, and at our own free will. Disappointingly, we end up getting swindled & going to bars rather than clubs filled with music and people who I quite honestly had no desire to be partying with. I was fed up by the 2nd bar, called Stellenbosch, and realizing there was no way I could get back even if I wanted to, my blood was boiling.

Dynamics of the club? Majority white/Afrikaans people. Rude, obnoxious ones, who when they were younger, quite obviously weren’t taught by their parents the phrase “Excuse me,” or when to use it. Apparently, they also have no concept of space or when it is necessary to make sure they give a person their own. It’s safe to say when I got too angry I released it on the people who thereafter pushed up against me with no regard for my existence.

Music? Not diverse at all…obviously.Michael was having fun though. Tons of it. And everyone else seemed to be having an alright time as well…or at least making the best of it. I was the only one impatient, with an attitude and ready to go. From the second club, I vowed that if the 3rd club was anything like the 1st or 2nd, my R150 would remain in my pouch. It was. And from then on my mind had already been made-up. By the way (150 Rands—is the equivalent to our “dollars.” 150 Rands = around $23). 

Regardless of the money, I was not paying a damn thing to go to 3 identical clubs…considering that they were not even clubs at all. Sure, people were dancing, but it wasn’t a club. I wasn’t paying money to be around rude, drunk white Afrikaners all night either who knew how to dance, but not well. Nor was I paying to have them falling, bumping, and aggressively pushing past me without a “sorry,” “pardon me,” or “my bad.” Lastly, I was not paying to have my lungs, clothes and hair filled with smoke from the heaps of cigarette smoke that choked life itself from the air. 

As you can tell, I was not happy or satisfied with the way anything was going. The ride back from these 3 clubs was the real turning point in my trip, but I’ll discuss that in the post following the next. The next post will be dedicated to the good part of the trip & following that, I’ll give the account of why I’d rather have little to no remembrance of the hostel we stayed in or of the weekend for that matter.

Posted 2 years ago

Cape Town: A Series

Okay so this past weekend, I went to Cape Town for a mini-vacation away from from all the work that needed to be done during the week & dreading all the work that would be on our plates awaiting our return. 

The next 3 posts will be about my weekend in detail. 

Post #1: Arrival in Cape Town, the observations made & the events that happened.

Post #2: The Unforgettable Highlights of Cape Town

Post #3: Racism First Hand

It’s strategic as well as necessary in my opinion to split it up this way in order for me not to overload one big post with so many events, emotions & information. I like to write in as much detail as possible and in order for me to convey the information properly, it must be broken up this way. It’ll be called CAPE TOWN: A SERIES PART ( )

Feedback, comments, questions are always welcomed and desired. 

Posted 2 years ago

Suitcase Filled with…Snacks

And it goes a little something like this

  • Ritz Crackers
  • Chips Ahoy chocolate cookies
  • Club Crackers
  • Pack of 50 fruit cups
  • Gum galore
  • Two packs of white cheddar Cheez-Its crackers
  • Yogurt

 This isn’t just a list of snacks that I love dearly and constantly have cravings for; it is a list of all you will see if you open up my blue pulley suitcase.  That’s right; I filled an entire suitcase with just snacks.

Am I proud of it? Well, if this was July 8th, the day we gave 15 hours of our lives to travel, I would have emphatically said YES! But now that we have 22 days behind us and 6 days ahead, I feel a bit cheesy for bringing it all.

The plan was to finish in its totality by the end of this week all of my snacks and use the bag for the gifts I would be bringing back to the States for friends and family. So far I’ve shared and eaten the chocolate chip cookies and one box of Cheez-Its, which means I still have about 40 fruit cups, a box of Club crackers, Ritz Crackers and yogurt left. I suppose my 10 peers will have an early Halloween, with all the treats that I’ll be handing out.

Why I bought so many snacks? Well, that’s a long story. Short story is I can be a picky eater and I didn’t know what foods to expect once I arrived; whether I would enjoy it or dislike it. I know many people who have traveled toAfrica over the past two years and from conversing with them, one of the repeated pieces of advice I received was to bring snacks with me. I admit, maybe they didn’t mean a whole suitcase filled with goodies but when there are stores that exist like Cosco’s, you are bound to get a tad bit greedy.

The Lesson: Don’t be like me with a big suitcase filled with snacks….Bring a little suitcase filled with snacks….Just kidding! If you want to bring something that you love, desire and absolutely can’t live without, sure, bring it. I would say if you want a specific name brand snack that they might not have in South Africa, buy a small pack. Chose a maximum of 3 of your favorite snacks, buy one of each and call it a day. The food is so amazingly delicious here that the only purpose these snacks serve now is as a scheme to save money and prevent me from going broke and eating up all the food at these restaurants. My piece of advice instead of saying brining food would be to make friends and get contacts. You never know—the next time you come back, if you remain in contact, they might invite you over to have the most satisfying food you’ve ever had in your entire life; and then once again, snacks would have been overruled by the love ingredient inserted in South African food. 

Posted 2 years ago
Posted 2 years ago
Posted 2 years ago

"Apartheid is exactly where it belongs..In A Museum."

Friday we went to the Apartheid Museum and to say the least it was an experience that can’t be explained through words, but for lack of a better word or word(s), it was eye-opening experience.

So the way the museum goes is you receive a slip when you first walk in that indicates whether you will first be entering as a “white” or “non-white” person. Considering that I am the only black person out of my other 10 peers, I was concerned that I would be the only one entering as a “non-white"…BLACK person. When we arrived, the group was randomly selected to receive the slips of paper. At first I felt at ease to know I wouldn’t be walking through the museum alone, but that comfort soon switched back to uncertainty.

I realized that it wasn’t about the slip I was given, nor was it about whether or not I had somebody to my left or right to experience with me; at the end of the day my skin color would still be light caramel, and I would still be considered black and therefore my experience would still be alone

Before we walked in, there were 6 pillars on the top of the building that said : Democracy. Equality. Reconciliation. Responsibility. Diversity. Freedom. My mind was unsettled and I had to gather myself before going in. For those who don’t know, apartheid was a strict system of racial segregation and political, social and economic discrimination enforced by the National Party between the years of 1948-1994. To me, those words don’t quite describe apartheid. It was simply a group of ignorant, greedy, power-struck group of people who believed that the color they wore and their way of life was more prominent than all others. The museum was filled with such intensity that it was bound to garner the attention it did from me.

There were plenty of disturbing images and quotes that angered me tremendously.

It wasn’t that I’ve never heard this type of nonsense before; it was the fact of imagining myself being forced into a system where no matter if my people are the majority, we have been labeled minorities and discriminated against in not only our own land, but the land that we cultivated and built. The Bushmen are considered to be the original inhabitants on the land of Africa, and that is fact. For anyone to think that the white man is the “master” of any of the land on the African continent is absolute buffoonery.

The white man (in power) in South Africa caused nothing but destruction. From the imposed Afrikaans language they were forced to learn, to the Bantu Education Act of 1953, it is a hard pill to swallow when you think about the motives that came out of pure hatred for the African man, woman and child. 

The one thing that I kept getting reminded of was all the great leaders, activists and protesters who stood up and made a vow to their people and to those generations who had yet to come, and fought against the system. The Nelson Mandela’s. Steve Bikos. Walter Sisulu’s. Solomon Mahlangu’s. And all the people whose names we don’t know that go unheard of but were strong, confident and brave enough to stand on the front lines for all that was right against all that was wrong. 

In closing, there was a room with a series of ropes hanging from the ceiling to represent “131 government opponents that were executed under apartheid’s various terrorism laws.” 

The quote in that room was on a glass wall by Solomon Mahlangu (a dedicated member of the ANC who was murdered by the apartheid government). One of the most powerful quotes hands down that I read in the museum. Filled with symbolism and courage, his words speaks volumes even to this day.

"My blood will nourish the tree which will bear the fruits of freedom.  Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the struggle. Do not worry about those who are suffering." -Solomon Mahlangu

 

 

Posted 2 years ago

Happy 93rd Birthday to the “Old Man”

HAPPY 93rd Birthday Nelson Mandela.


 

…I love you Grandfather. <3