Sunday 4 Jun
Johannesberg, South Africa
Crime capital of Afrika here I come
"No physical barriers separate black and white zones. What keep blacks from spilling over into the white preserve is the unseen power of apartheid unknown author
So many people in my travels around the world up until this point have warned me of spending time in Jo'burg. "Its not worth it", "Too much crime", "Spend your time elsewhere" etc etc etc.
Well having spent a couple of days here I am glad I briefly stopped here and paid this city and South Africa a little justice. Yes crime is high and the vibe of this place is how do I say this, "Not Welcoming", but to truly understand South Africa, its history, its present and its future path, no trip to South Africa is complete without a visit to this place.
Today was a big touring day. I am fresh off a visit to the Apartheid Museum, an absolute cracking museum that documents the history of South Africa from the 1950's (during the establishment of "Segregation policies") to the mid 90's where the apartheid regime was finally abolished and South Africa begun the creation of a new nation. A little naive walking into the museum, I am now thankful that I can now appreciate the tradegy that unfolded in this country only yesterday. From the museum it was on to the Hector Pieterson Memorial, a memorial in aid of the 67 students killed in cold blood during a student protest against the compulsory change to teaching the youth of South Africa with the Africaan's language, rather than the previous zulu and english language. This act of violence in 1976 commenced the violent exchanges between the black (and in many cases the wider community) and the government. To stand on the corner where the events unfolded was a harrowing experience.
Only two blocks from this event is the first house of Nelson Mandela and three blocks from Bishop Desmond Tutu's house. This is the only street in the world that has/had two Nobel Prize winners living on it. Remarkable in itself.
A drive by Winnie's current house and it was then on to the township of Soweto (in actual fact the above all lie in Soweto). Soweto (short for "South Western Township") is the largest and most prominant township in Jo'burg and South Africa. Home to 4.5million residents. Soweto encompasses the poorest and richest black people in Jo'burg and the sense of community was hard not to miss. For a township, housing such poverty, the lack of crime and security was a definate surprise. A vast difference to the favela's of Brasil.
Still trying to get over the day to be honest, not the most enjoyable of days. But it was never going to be. A day of learning and understanding. South Africa still has a long way to go, but with the up-and-coming youth replacing the likes of Mandela & Biko (ANC youth members that solely altered and defined South Africa into the country it is today) I hold much hope for this diverse and developing country.
It is just sad to think that there are countries still stuck in similar attrocities to the Apartheid period today. Especially ones so close like Zimbabwe. I have decided to do my bit by not supporting them with my dollar and will not be crossing that border in my travels around Afica.
Will be out of contact for a bit, but appreciate all of the notes regardless.