We started the day with breakfast by the pool at our accommodation. We then left for a half day tour of Soweto township in Johannesburg. In Soweto, we first toured the area by bus. Our guide told us about the history of gold mining bringing people to Johannesburg and segregation in the township during apartheid. He also discussed the gross economic inequality today in Soweto that exists as a result of apartheid.
Next, we drove to the Hector Pieterson Museum. This museum commemorates the youth movement during apartheid that fought for education and equality. It is named after a young boy who was killed during the Soweto Uprising protesting the enforcement of teaching in Afrikaans.
After the museum, we walked to the Mandela House where Nelson Mandela’s family lived from 1946 into the 1990s. On the way over there, we passed by lots of artwork commemorating the resistance.
To close our Soweto tour, we had a home cooked meal with a group of local neighbors. They gave us each a South African name and taught us how to greet people in one of five languages. When we finished eating, we put our chairs in a circle and had an honest conversation about politics in both of our countries. After our meal and discussion, the locals sang and danced with us. They performed several traditional songs and then we were asked to close with an American song. We enthusiastically sang “Don’t Stop Believing!”
For the second half of the day, we went to St. John’s College and played squash against girls and boys from St. John’s and St. Mary’s School. After our matches, we ate a barbecue dinner. Then, we heard a lecture by Rev. Sidwell Mokgothu, who was an activist in the African National Congress (ANC) opposing apartheid rule.
We finished the day at our accommodation with group reflections on all that we had experienced that day. Submitted by Lily and Chris