Thursday, July 2, 2009

Siyanamukela! Welcome!

Today we toured Soweto, the Southwest Township, outside of Johannesburg. It is an 80 square mile area with a population of between 2 ½ million and 4 million! The discrepancy exists because the people are quite leery about giving accurate information to the government. History dies hard. It is a vibrant and busy region full of independent businesses and a wide range of economic status. At this point, all homes have running water and electricity and those of the privileged minorities also have barbed wire on top of brick walls that surround their homes. The gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” was significant. Its history includes rampant civil unrest in the early 70’s resulting in changes for all Blacks. The memory of 13 year old Hector Peterson is memorialized at the museum that bears his name as he was the first victim during the uprisings. The parallel with the civil rights era in the United States was evident.

We then headed to Lesedi Cultural Village where we were treated to the lifestyle and culture of at least five different tribes. Representatives from these tribes wore tribal dress and we learned a bit of their language that allowed us to greet and thank them for sharing their lifestyles. Several of the “hungrier” of the group sampled the fried delicacies…aka. worm-like creatures. See their reaction in the photos ! We then headed to the dance hut for a lively performance of traditional ethnic and ancestral dances. This was a peek into how meaningful and influential the culture of these people is in their daily lives and the physical strength and endurance it takes to participate.

When they asked for a strong, bold male who thought he was “man enough” to challenge one of their warriors, our very own Pete stepped up to the plate! Stay tuned for the video! We have to go to dinner!

So… I had a very pleasant conversation with the Iraqi ambassador tonight at dinner. He was suggesting a very good restaurant in Thailand…J

Meanwhile…we ended up doing a bit of shopping while we grabbed a bite to eat in Rosebank where we did some haggling with the local artisans. Most of us made it back to the bus in time…then we saw the Big 5 making another “Home Alone” run to get to the bus, albeit a few minutes late. Truth is, we have all been guilty at some point but have vowed to be better from now on. We think it might be upsetting Johan and Louie, our driver…they are NOT Jean Christophe! J

Check out some photos from yesterday and some from today, too. It’s all good! Enjoy…because we all are!

Hamba Kahle! Go well!


  1. I am reallyenjoying the blogs thanks for sharing. Figured my cousin Sharon would be eating worms haha. much love and enjoy!!!

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for the blogs. It's like visiting South Africa while in Wantage - not really!!
    Glad that everyone is enjoying the trip. I'll look forward to all the stories and photos.

  3. I love this Vernoy, but warthogs, really???
    Peggy, Quinn and Patrick

  4. Say Hi to Jane, Tina, Sandi and Joyce for me.
    Looks like it is an experince they will never forget...especially Sandi eating the slugs!

    Jude Mahon