For the last few days of our trip, we headed back to J’burg. We had multiple options on how to spend the precious time we had left in beautiful country of South Africa. We were able to squeeze quite a few things into this time including another African market, a lesson and shopping session on African diamonds, and my favorite, a visit to Soweto.
Soweto is an urban area just outside of Johannesburg and was the location of Nelson Mandela’s home for most of his adult life. We were lucky enough to visit on his 95th birthday. Before we left for our trip, Mandela’s health was quickly declining, and it was assumed that he might pass during our time in the country. It was an especially joyous celebration, because the country did not know if he would make it to see his 95th birthday. We had the opportunity of a life time to be a part of this historic occasion.
The Soweto home is now a small museum dedicated to the life and work of Mandela. The entire street was filled with music, dancing, street performers, news casters, and vendors. We hung out for a while observing the festivities, and signed a huge banner for Mandela. It said “How privileged we are to live in your time” and how true! I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, that I highly reccomend the movie “Invictus”. If you haven’t watched it, take the time to do so! Nelson Mandela led a reformation of an entire nation with the ideas of peace, equality, and kindness. He was a simple man with a vision, and was able to change so many people’s lives for the better. No, the country is not perfect, but has come a long way under his influence.
School children gathered to watch and listen to the music.
The house it’s self was very small. It is probably about the size of two dorm rooms. Nelson Mandela lived there with his wife and children (both his first and second wives lived in this house during their respective marriages). The kitchen was about the size of my closet! This is still considered a nice home for a black or colored person is South Africa. The house had many historic items to view including family photos, letters from Mandela written during his time in jail. He only lived in the house for a few weeks after his return from jail. It was unsafe due to protests, and his family moved to a safer location.
There are very few times in my life so far where I have actively felt like I was standing in a part of history. The most obvious time being on September 11th when the twin towers were destroyed. I know this day might not be written about in history books, but I know that history books will talk about Mandela. As a matter of fact, they already do, and I lived in his time, saw his home, and wrote him a personal birthday message.
One more post about Africa this week, then a whole lot about my new life, new job, and wedding planning! Thanks for reading, talk to you soon 🙂