The Apartheid Museum
This is an entry from my journal, Tuesday, January 30th.
Today was a powerful and emotional day. It was also very busy.
We started in Soweto (SOuth WEstern TOwnship). In a lumbering, precarious tour bus, we eeked and squeezed trhough narrown township streets. But Soweto in not Khayitlisha (where Vicky's B$B was)--in the first part of our tour, we saw houses that were literally mansions crammed into township plots. IT's importnat to remember that Soweto was an epicenter of political activity--Mandela lived there, Tutu still lives there, and many famous demonstartions and events (tragedies) happened there. So, perhaps fittingly, Soweto has seen some of the greatest advancements. Interestingly, as many as 60 white people live there for social (marriage) or economic (lower taxes) reasons. Despite all this, some parts of Soweto are still downtrodden--some still await electrification.
Also today, we visited Mandela's old home and the Hector Pieterson memorial (dedicated to the Soweto uprisings).
Finally, we visited the apartheid museum. There were images that brought me nearly to tears--from the wounded and screaming children of Soweto, to the crippled old man, assisted by young men, who watched astonished as a ballot slipped out of his hand and into a voting box for the first time in his life.
And I think I will never forget the stones we cast at the end of the tour--they were there so that vistors could symbolize their comitement to never let apartheid happen ever again. One feels a sense of responsibility.