Sept. 28 – Out of Africa
Because our flight home wasn’t until the evening, I decided to take a quick tour of Jo’burg based on recommendations of my friend Donna Bryson, who had served as AP Bureau Chief there. Unfortunately, the art museum she recommended was closed because of student protests at the college, but I was able to visit Constitution Hill, which is a former fort and prison where Nelson Mandela and other famous activists were held, and Constitutional Court, built using bricks from the demolished awaiting-trial wing of the prison.
I also visited the Apartheid Museum, which takes you chronologically and emotionally through the history of apartheid – from its origins to its demise and the new Constitution – through words, pictures and video. Your ticket randomly classifies you as “white” or “nonwhite,” and you enter through a separate door based on your classification. I was non-white. Currently there is Nelson Mandela exhibit that features different periods of his life, from childhood to prisoner to leader. A number of school groups were visiting the museum, and it was moving to see young boys reading the inspirational Mandela stories. Outside, there are panels with quotes from Mandela in different colors. You choose the color of the quotes that resonate most with you, take a four-foot dowel painted in that color from the bin, and add it to the ever-changing sculpture. Some of my favorite quotes:
Forgiveness – “Deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity.”
Humility – “None of us can be described as having virtues or qualities that raise him or her above others.”
Respect – “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that enhances and respects the freedom of others.”
Then it was time to say a sad farewell to a wonderful African adventure, so here is the obligatory end-of-blog sunset picture, with thanks to Malcolm, Judy and a cooperative giraffe: