Day 2: Behind the Fences

Whites only

One of the “whites only” signs in the Apartheid Museum

It was really interesting to actually see everything in real life for once.

We have read so much about apartheid and Nelson Mandela recently, as well as watching so many movies about it so I think it was really interesting to actually be able to experience all this in South Africa at the museum and the real South African perspective.

We began our tour in the Apartheid museum going through different entrances. We were just randomly separated into groups of “whites” or “non-whites”. We were separated so we would feel like we were treated differently  just like the white and blacks were during apartheid. At first I thought the “whites” and “non-whites” were going to see different things, but soon enough I realized it was just a beginning of the tour without showing anything specific for the different groups. I was placed in the white entrance (this was not based on our real skin color, but just randomly). Still, it gave us an insight of what it used to be like during the apartheid. There were signs saying “Whites” and other saying “non-whites”Non-whites or even “Non-Europeans”. I have not really thought about this before throughout the course why the colored, Asians, and Blacks were called “non-whites” or “non-Europeans”. Now when I am thinking of it- that is what is says on all the signs by the bus stops, by the cafés, and on the benches. 

Mandela Quotes

Some of the quotes at the Apartheid Museum

Another of my favorite parts of the museum was the Nelson Mandela quotes on the wall. One of my favorite quotes was called “Reliance” and it went:

“There are few misfortunes in the world that you cannot turn into a personal triumph if you have the iron will and the necessary skill.”

I really liked that quote because that was the one, out of many, that I  really agreed with. I do not think there is anything that you cannot turn out to be a good thing. Whether something may seem impossible or bad at the time, even if some things may seem tough, something good will always come out of it. I feel like Nelson Mandela lived after those words, even when he went to prison he was able to believe in himself and what he fought for. He always thought that something good was going to come out of what he had to go through.

Mandela House

The area around Liliesleaf

Later in the afternoon, after having lunch at the Apartheid Museum, we went to the Liliesleaf Farm, where Mandela and ANC members were caught in 1963. We saw Mandela’s room, where he was hidden for a longer period and where he and the other members were caught. I am always very fascinated when going to places where famous people have been, especially when I know as much as I know about Nelson Mandela. Being in his room where he lived for a longer time and where he was eventually arrested at was really amazing. The area around Liliesleaf was beautiful and the houses were so cute.

Jenna & Adriana at Mandela Museum

Jenna & Adriana outside the Apartheid Museum

Another thing that does not have anything to do with the museum or the Liliesleaf Farm that I have paid attention to has been all of the fences. That is something I have never seen before. Obviously there are gated communities in the US, but I have never seen fences around the homes, around the malls, or around the hotels like this before. This far I have not felt unsafe at all in the community we have stayed in but I am sure that is only because we stay behind our fences in the South African “Beverly Hills”.

I know we are not seeing the really bad parts of Johannesburg, it obviously would have been too risky for us to do so. But I do not think I would ever be able to get used to a lifestyle like that, although I am sure that it is very common and normal to people growing up and living in the neighborhoods like this.

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