Published: June 19th 2010June 19th 2010
Well tonight is our last night in Johannesburg at the Ball and Kicka Soccar Fan Village. Laura and I got a much smaller more private room tonight sharing with just one other couple instead of the usual 16 in two rooms. So this will be nice. In a bit we are heading to Melville, a nice area of Joburg to watch the last football match of the day. So the last few days have been some of the most fun while here in Johannesburg so I'll get right to it.
APARTEID MUSEUM: Really I think people would have to just go for themselves but it really lies out a the history of South Africa from the arrival of the Boers (Dutch) to the arrival of the British and both of their interactions with the local people were here already. Although segregation was always a part of Johannesburg after 1910 when the Boers and English made peace and formed a federation, it got more intense in 1948 when the National Party (NP) came to power. Until 1960 the South African segregation was similar to Jim Crow laws in the South. After 1960 a more extreme form of Aparteid came into place
and lasted until the late 1980s when it eventually fell. It is still amazing that 15% whites could control 85% blacks. Interestingly enough, just as some Nazi fugitives fled to Argentina after WWII the militant-racist white South Africaans went to settle Austrailia. Strange..
SOWETO: This stands for SOuthWEstTOwnships. There are about 40 townships, or shantytowns all in one giant area 15 miles outside of Joburg. There are now nice parts of Soweto and even a bunji jumping platform between two former electric towers. It is a nice place actually. The start of the end of aparteid came in 1976 when the black students marched peacefully to not be educated and instructed in the Africaans language. The Afrikaaners killed a few hundred students and riots ensued for days. I guess that is all the history I will give here although it is really quite a nuanced discussion.
TAXIS: We are really getting good at taking the public taxis (15 person mini busses). Firstly to get them to stop you have to display the correct hand signal, like pointing down, pointing up, hooking your hand, putting two hands on your shoulders and so on. If you know the right hand
signal you can get a taxi to stop and take you where you want!
SOCCAR: How could I not mention soccar here! We are watching 2-3 games a day :-) ...The US-Slovenia game was great although a mysterious call at the end of the game kept the US from winning the game. Still as long as we win we are in. If we tie we will likely still make it, but if we loose outright to Algeria we are eliminated. We have been frequenting local pubs and have even gone grocery shopping in the so called dangerous area of Hillbrow. Our hostel borders it, although everyone has only been friendly to us.
ORIGINS MUSEUM: This was neat but not to my interest area. There were 1000s of rocks each carved into instruments people used here 100000 years ago. They do offer a DNA testing service which I would like to take advantage of later on. They trace your DNA back 2000 or more years. What DNA do we all carry? It is intersting to me. I bet I was Norse way back when. Anyhow though it was 200 bucks and I can do it from the States.
UPCOMING: So tomoro we head to Mozambique. We couldnt get our visa ahead of time and our bus said they would specifically leave us at the border if we werent fast about it. The border is about 85 kms from Maputo so well end up hitching if we have to but lets hope we are quick about it! We are taking the night bus to save on the night in a hotel. When in Mozambique we are couchsurfing with a peacecorp girl so that will be nice. Anyhow, thats all for now.
There are more photos below