Monday, December 11, 2006

holding pattern...

hello my friends,

reporting from jo-burg still.

good news! i'm still in one piece.

i slept in this morning and missed the time period in which to apply for a mozambican visa. so, i'm going to have to wait till tomorrow morning. in the meantime, i might be thrown out of my hostel.

yesterday, me and ahmed managed to fit in a tour of the Apartheid Museum and Soweto.

the apartheid museum was really good. i could have spent 4 or 5 hours there but managed 2.5. exhibits were depressing though. at the beginning of the tour i was given an honourary white person's card. i felt quite powerful for some odd reason. in reality, dennis, our tour guide, said that chinese people were classified as blecks in that time. turned out that, the classifications (white, coloured, blecks) were quite arbitrary. some families were split along racial qualifications. approx. 100 chinese people in 1985 changed colours from bleck to white.

anyway, the story of apartheid was quite chilling. they had video clips of government officials in the day defending apartheid. initially, apartheid was enforced because of labour shortages. but, clearly, it turned out to be a racist policy.

afterwards, dennis took us to soweto (stands for SOuth WEstern TOwnships), the area where alot of the bleck brothers were segregated from the white folks. we saw the mandela's little brick house, winnie mandela's house and desmond tutu's house. we then went to seen the po part of soweto. then we went to the very rich part of soweto (where millionaire bleck people live).

overall, i don't think a trip to SA is complete without a tour of soweto or any other townships.

update: i was walking along the road today when i spotted a newspaper with the headline reading "chinese fighting to be black". i thought apartheid was in the past. i believe dennis' observation that, even though there are tough anti-discrimination laws, there is a still a strong undercurrent of racism here. can't fix rome in a day, eh...

3 comments:

Steve H. said...

Any sign of Charlize?

bubba said...

i tried to get to her museum/birthplace. nodda. i was talking to a SA person on the bus today. she's a national hero, eh. they don't like her american accent though...

dean said...

I have a feeling that the racism won't go away for a really LONG time. Just like the States, and here in Canada. Some of it's more covert than overt, but it's definitley there.