Friday, 17 June 2011

Day 3 - Vilakazi Street and on to Kruger!

Today it feels appropriate to be writing about last week because today is Youth Day - a National Holiday honoring student uprisings in Soweto on June 16th, 1976.  On Friday the 10th, we started our day with a visit to the Hector Pieterson Museum, so named in honor of a young man, only 13 years old, who was killed, unarmed, in the uprisings of that day - a non-violent protest against Bantu education.  Designed by the same team as the Apartheid Museum, it also used effective video and first-hand testimonials to describe the event and the watershed that it was in the downfall of apartheid...

From there to Vilakazi Street where we toured Mandela's home where he lived before his imprisonment in 1964, and then for 11 days after his release in 1990 before it was determined to be simply unsafe due to the media frenzy that surrounded it 24/7.  It is a tiny but remarkable monument - full of significance and of his presence.  There are numerous honorary degrees that have been conferred upon him, the chair he sits in when he visits, and, of some note, a certificate from the Congressional representatives of the State of Michigan – turns out the US had a significant role in providing information that lead to his arrest in 1962, and the certificate is an apology for the US Government’s participation.  Apparently, they had asked for George H. W. Bush to sign as well, President at the time of Mandela’s release from prison, and he refused; he had been the head of the CIA in 1962!

After lunch, we boarded the bus to Kruger!  The road was a long one, and the scenery changed dramatically from Soweto to the National Park area…by the time we arrived (a little cramped, and a lot hungry), we were ready for a big meal and not quite enough sleep before the 5 AM game drive.  The Rio Vista Guest House set us up very comfortably for our nap…

1 comment:

  1. Lisa, Thank you for the e-mail letting us know the group arrived safely and posting this blog. Apparently this is my childs preferred way to let me know what's happening. I look forward to your next post.

    Ons wens jou 'n veilige reis