Saturday was the last day of this wonderful trip. Due to some misunderstanding, the original schedule had been adjusted and we enjoyed spending the day as tourists. The time we had was far from enough to do everything we wanted to do, but in the end, we still managed to “tick off” numerous activities (with special thanks to Chaba and his son, who have driven us around the whole day.)
Around 10, we were picked up at the hotel and ready to start this busy day. Following our planning, we first went to Amatuli: a whole sale store with the most amazing (African) art and furniture. Looking back, I think it’s better that we couldn’t take as much on the plane as our bank account otherwise would have been a lot emptier (but we would be many beautiful things richer).
After this, it was time for our next stop: Constitution Hill. This famous tourist attraction gave us some more background on the (history of) the city, as Prison 4 (&5) have hosted big heroes like Mandela and Gandhi. Moreover, it was also interesting to see how the politics (and discrimination) of that time were still reflected in the practices in the prison. Examples of this are the differences in treatment between “white”, “colored” and “black” (how much and what kind of food people were given, how often they would get to shower, even in what cells they were put, etc. etc). It was very special to experience this “monument” together with Chaba and his son, who had never been here but have been living here their entire lives.
For lunch, we went to the Neighbor Goods Market in Braamfontein. This market, which is organized every Saturday, was certainly worth the search! This hotspot combines all sorts of lovely people with music, crafts and of course… Food! On the first floor, there was an entire hall filled with stands that served the best food from all over the world: paella, waffles, chicken, dim sum, sushi, cake, but also cocktails and artisan coffee! In need for some delicious treats in a VERY cool environment? Search no more! (or do search, but for this Market)
After having savored the best dishes, we continued our (tourist) adventure. While talking to Chaba and his son, and discovering more about (living in) Jo’burg, we drove to the Apartheidsmuseum. This other tourist “must see” is located next to a fun park and leaves Chaba and his son to decide that they rather stay in the car. He explained to us that the Apartheid is still a very sensitive issue and almost no “blacks” and “coloreds” can handle the memory of it. Because of this description, my dad and I were prepared for another intense experience and we weren’t disappointed. Learning about Jo’burg’s history of exclusion and racism and the role of white (Dutch) people, made me feel deeply ashamed of my nationality. Especially the fact that the Apartheid’s regime was only officially abandoned in 1990, truly made my stomach turn. Nevertheless, there was some positivity as well, as we also had the chance to read about the true heroes of that time. People like Lillian Ngoya, Steve Biko and of course Madiba (Mr. Mandela) have taken up leadership roles which not only strongly impacted their lives, but lives of numerous others as well: then, today and tomorrow.
Furthermore, my dad and I had also planned to go to Maboneng. Maboneng Precinct was a very welcome, refreshing environment, full of inspiration! This artsy region in Jo’burg is home of many gorgeous murals, music, cool cafes and hipsters. It was the being in this area which showed me that there is a great future full of hope for Jo’burg; the love, peace and art that is already present, not only brings people together now, it also inspires progress.
Of course, I am not saying that the whole city should become a hipster hub, but the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit present here CAN be used for uniting the Jozi’s.
We concluded our day and stay with a drink with Liesbeth and Thirza, to talk about the (future of) the projects, and having dinner in a Thai restaurant on Mandela Square. Talking about all the things we’d done, I realized that this trip has given me so much more than I had expected. It has touched me deeply to see the Ubuntu-spirit in everything, the impact one project can have and how Jo’burg is slowly recovering from those horrible 40+ years. This trip has shown me how contraries are similarities as well and how all is ever changing. Nevertheless, the one truth will exist forever: I am because you are.
Thank you for reading! I hope to have inspired you to discover this truth yourself:)