This past weekend has been very fun, and a little more cultural (kind of). Today (Monday), I do not have school because yesterday was South African Freedom Day (a public holiday that recognizes the first post-apartheid elections…since it is the 20th anniversary, this year is pretty special). The general elections are in 10 days (May 7th), and I am very interested to see what the outcome is. From what I have researched, the ANC party (the party that Mandela fought with, and the current party in power) will remain in power but with less of a majority. Unfortunately, there is a lot of discontent with the ANC… well, more so the actual people in power with the ANC, not the actual party (but I guess that’s politics). Also, an interesting fact: this is the first election where the “Born Frees” are able to vote—people who were born after apartheid ended. Only about 1/3 are registered to vote though.
Anyway, this Friday I went to a poetry slam in a township called Kayamandi. Kayamandi is in Stellenbosch, and you can even see the area from my friend’s window. Some students who go to Lynedoch Primary School are from Kayamandi as well. The poetry slam was held through a group called Amazink (part of Kayamandi where they have shows, dances, etc.). I have never been to a poetry slam, and especially have never been a fan of poetry—it just never made sense to me, and just frustrates me. However, (even though I had a difficult time following what the poems were saying)I really loved the poetry slam. There were people of all backgrounds and wealth. There were poems in Afrikaans, English, and Xhosa, and the poems were by white, black, and colored people. I was amazed how talented everyone was. My favorite part about the poems were the topics—most were about racial issues, and general issues that are common in South Africa. The fascinating topics, plus the passion in the their voices made the poems so powerful.
On Saturday some friends and I went to a wine and cheese festival in Stellenbosch. This festival was different than the rest because it was set up more like a fair, and was a LOT bigger. There were free samples of cheese everywhere, and was a great place to people-watch.
On Sunday, some friends and I went to Mzloi’s—kind of like a block party in a township. The township’s name is Guguletho, and has about 45,000 residents. Mzoli’s is a well-known out-door braai restaurant. Since it was Freedom Day, there were a lot of people everywhere. It was the first time that I really felt like a minority, and the whole event was definitely a little out of my comfort zone. However, I did have a good time, and learned a lot from it. I gave up on trying to get food while there though, so I didn’t eat from 8 am to 9 pm (kind of a ridiculous thing to complain about when I was in a township though). I was happy when I did eventually get home, and could be in a less crowded area, and could eat.
Lastly, my computer is back and funcitoning! (Like I said, everything works out in the end)
Until next time,