Today, we visited the Apartheid Museum, Nelson Mandela’s home and the town of Soweto.
We drove to the Apartheid Museum and headed in. Apartheid was when there was racial discrimination between the whites and the blacks in South Africa. When we went to enter the museum, there was a segregated entrance, one for whites and blacks. Our ticket gave us a random classification, so a few of us went one way and a few went the other. We met up after the entrance and walked into the museum to watch a film about the time of Apartheid. After watching the film we walked through many parts of the museum. All the photos and snippets of newspaper articles were so sad. We came into a room that had over 100 nooses for all the people that the white government executed. We also saw an armored car that had many broken windows from locals destroying it.
We learned about what happened during the time of Apartheid. Both sides of the argument were brutally killing each other, and if it weren’t for Nelson Mandela, there wouldn’t be anyone alive still living in South Africa. The whole museum was very sad to see and experience.
On our way out, we saw newspaper highlights from TODAY, of racial hatred, like in Israel with the Jews and Palestinians. Before we left, we passed by a monument of the free South African flag. Now, after seeing all that the people of South Africa have gone through, that flag means so much more to me.
Our next stop was Nelson Mandela’s home. He lived there for 15 years before he went to jail, but only spent 11 days there after he was released. We arrived there and saw a very tiny house with a small backyard. His house had only four rooms where a number of his family members lived together. We were able to explore many of the rooms. We saw many of the awards he was given throughout his lifetime, like the Nobel Peace Prize, that were all hung up around his home. All his accolades were actually just replicas, because the real ones are mostly displayed at the Apartheid Museum in a special Nelson Mandela permanent exhibit. There were a number of photos and videos of him and his family during Apartheid. On one of the walls, there was a timeline of everything he did during his life, which I found to be remarkable. But, I think the most remarkable thing about Nelson Mandela is that after 27 years as a political prisoner, he came out with a kind heart and made even more monumental changes for South Africa upon his release until his death in 2012.
The next place we visited, was the city of Soweto. During the Apartheid movement, many of the whites wanted the homes of the blacks, but the blacks didn’t want to give up their homes, so it was a scene for many riots. In Soweto, there is a place called the Freedom Square where they created a monument honoring and exhibiting the constitution.This dedication is ten big pieces of metal that each hold a section of the values and rights of the constitution. The constitution was drafted in 1955, but not until 1994 did it become an active piece of legislation once President Nelson Mandela won the election.
Our final stop, was a small town called Kliptown that consisted of 46,000 extremely impoverished people. Kliptown is just across the street and over the railroad tracks from the Freedom Square. The quality of living was very low, and people had to fit 20-25 people in an extremely small space. Picture three rooms about about 8 x 8 feet, with 6-7 people living in each room.
The boys of the house typically slept outside, so they would be certain of the safety of the girls.The whole village made me feel sad, but one thing didn’t. The People. All the children were happily playing with each other, and all the adults would smile whenever you came by. The entire place was beautiful, made me feel very sad inside, but also made me appreciate my life.