Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some discomfort in Pretoria...

After our amazing Soweto homestay, we drove to Pretoria, the capitol of South Africa. We were staying in a nice hotel and got to hang out and get to know each other over some Windhoek Lagers and a delicious braai. The most significant visit that we did over these few days was to the Voortrekker monument, a monument dedicated to the Afrikaaners who traveled from the Cape north and east to escape from “English oppression” when they abolished slavery in the early nineteenth century. The monument, while beautiful, was extremely uncomfortable for me to visit. As Afrikaaners were the architects and creators of apartheid, and the monument was erected for them to honor their travels north so that they could legally own their slaves. We had some interesting discussions amongst the group about this discomfort, but rested on the idea that it was good to get another perspective on the history.

Aside from this trip, we were busy catching up with some quicker e-mail access and air conditioning. We also made a quick stop at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and learned some interesting information about the United States Foreign Service, the United States presence in South Africa, and Chinese presence in South Africa as well. After that, we were all pretty tired, so we hung out at the hotel and packed because we had to leave the hotel really early to get to the airport the next day! Off to Windhoek!!

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