Tag Archives | Nelson Mandela

My Mandela: #RIPNelsonMandela

 

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Statue outside Victor-Verster Prison

We have lost a hero.  When I read the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing, I was shocked. I knew that his health was failing for sometime, but the fact that this great man is no longer with us is still difficult for me to grasp.  Mandela was elected to the presidency of South Africa during my senior year in high school.  At that point in my life, I could not help but feel the sense of optimism and hope that the man personified.  Our first trip to his beloved land South Africa was in 2010.  During our stay in Johannesburg, we visited the Soweto.  Below are a few pictures from our visit with some of our favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”–Long Walk to Freedom

Soweto Johanesburg

Soweto, Johannesburg

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”–Mandela

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”–Mandela

A mural in the Soweto.

A mural in the Soweto.

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” —Rivonia trial, 1964

 “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”–Mandela

 

Soweto family

Soweto family

“A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”-Long Walk to Freedom

God Speed Madiba.

 

Please follow and like us:
3

A Ticket to South Africa

“All I wanted to do now was get back to Africa.  We had not left it yet, but when I would wake in the night, I would lie, listening, homesick for it already.”—Ernest Hemingway

They say that you shouldn’t start blog posts with a quote.  They say that it some how takes away from rest of the post.  I think that is bunk.  Hemingway was onto something.  His thoughtful comment completely captures how we feel about Africa.  While our visit to South Africa was short, it changed us forever.  We want to take you along on our discovery.

Township south Africa

A view of Soweto

The Soweto

Our African experience began in Johannesburg, South Africa, affectionately known as Jo’Burg.  We endured the long flight from the States.  It continues to amaze us that you can board a flying tin can and travel half way around the world in less than a day.  Once we got our feet underneath us, we joined up with our guide Henry and headed for the Soweto.  Soweto is short for “South Western Township.”   The sprawling shanty metropolis is the home to 1.3 million people.  It has a rough and difficult history that we won’t dive into here; needless to say, we felt that it was important to see and attempt to understand first hand.  Our guide drove us around the Soweto, pointing out the hospital, when electricity came to the area, and how all the city functioned. Our guide took us into a couple of homes. We met the families that lived there.  Our “abundance guilt” bubbled up in our hearts.  A visit to the township was powerfully instructive. We ended our tour at Nelson Mandela’s house and mentally exhausted.

The next morning we hired our rental car for our adventure.   You would think that we would engage a Range Rover for the self-guided safari that we were embarking on?  No, we went cheap.  We opted for the four-cylinder Chevy Aveo.  Bad decision.  But we will save that story for a little later.  We headed north on highway one.  Our destination:  Zimbabwe.

Going into Zimbabwe

Crossing the border into Zimbabwe

Destination Zimbabwe

One of Luci’s lifetime goals is to visit Zimbabwe.  Why would an Idaho farm girl set a crazy goal like that?  We do not know.  The journey took a little over 5 hours.  As we approached the border crossing, we began to have second thoughts.  Zimbabwe does not have the friendliest relations with our fair country.  We parked at the South African checkpoint on the south bank of the Limpopo River.  We went in and were greeted by a grim-faced bureaucrat.  We explained our intent to cross into Zimbabwe, get our Passport stamped and return.  We both saw the blood kind of drain out of his face.

“Why are you doing this thing?” He politely asked.  We smiled and tried to explain.  Rather than attempt to counter our stupidity, he instructed us to do a number of things for our safety.  “Pull your car around to the front of the building, it will likely be stolen or broken into.  Go there, come back quickly and see me when you return so I know that you have returned safely.”

Zimbabwe border

Welcome to Zimbabwe

At this point, both of us were having second thoughts.  If our rental car company didn’t want us to drive across this river into this country, why in the world are we going across?  Like walking the plank, we bravely marched across the baboon ridden bridge.  We were headed by foot to Zimbabwe.  We were obviously tourists. Luci had her camera around her neck.  We didn’t have our belongings wrapped in a sheet or carrying grocery sacks across the bridge on our heads like others crossing.  As we approached, we were welcomed by camo-clad militia men with AK-47s strapped to their backs.  Each in turn looked at us with healthy suspicion.  We nervously whispered back and forth to each other…”keep walking, keep walking.”   We entered the run down custom’s house.  It was sheer craziness.  Crowds pushed forward to face the three to four border agents that were behind bars.

The heat that day was blistering.  Humidity was off the charts.  The air was close in the steamy small room.  We were unsure of ourselves.  Our naivety was written on our faces.  A couple of different agents came from one of the back rooms and pulled us aside and suggested that we pay them to make the process go faster.  We declined.  The price was adjusted.  Again we opted out.  In the developing situation, it soon became clear that the likelihood that we were going to make it out of the experience without our wallets being lightened significantly was highly unlikely.  Was it worth it for the Passport stamp?  I said, “Let’s go.”  We walked out.  We dashed back across the bridge to check back with our caring friend and find our car unmolested.  We had accomplished our goal.  We had set foot in Zimbabwe.  The adventure was just beginning.

South Africa Safari woman

The view from the veranda of the lodge.

 

A peaceful outpost

We made our way back into the savanna of South Africa.  We had done our research and found a quaint bed and breakfast on a small reservoir, the Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge.  This was our first taste of the night sounds of Africa.  It was wonderful.  We had our dinner on the veranda overlooking the water and listened.  We recounted our brave adventures that day and started to connect with the place that we had traveled so far to see.

The next morning we would head out on our self-serve safari to see some of the most incredible animals in the world.

Africa was truly a grand adventure!

 

  • Explore

    P&O Cruises are the trusted cruise experts, so a holiday with us is sure to be a holiday of a lifetime.

  • From Southampton

    Forget the stress of the airport and let your holiday begin the moment you step aboard one of our Southampton cruises.
    For more information, click here

  • Cruise Ships

    Our ships offer a level of service that you might have thought died out with cruise liners of the ’20s – no request is too much.
    For more information, click here

  • Cruise Deals

    Find our most popular cruise deals and start planning your next adventure by visiting the P&O Cruises website.
    For more information, click here

  • Mini Cruises

    If time is short, try a mini cruise – it offers all the same benefits as a longer cruise, but can be enjoyed over a long weekend.
    For more information, click here

 

Please follow and like us:
0

Soweto

Soweto-  (SOuth WEstern TOwnships)

The site was the theatre for deadly clashes that started the dominos falling to the end of Apartheid.   Candidly, on the visible surface, not much has changed in the 2010 version of the Soweto.  Poverty still rules the day.  Opportunity is no longer limited but an oppressive government, but it is a difficult road to travel.  Access to healthcare, education and clean water is not as plentiful as your would expect.

Main streets are lined with open air butchers, abandoned cars, and pick up soccer games.   Our guide took us to see an African “natural medicine market” located just outside of the Soweto.

The now abandoned twin nuclear cooling towers have been converted into a tourist attraction.  I understand that they filmed a location of “The Amazing Race” here.  Stretched between the two concrete towers is a bungee jumping facility.  We were on a tight schedule and were unable to check it out.

We spent nearly a full day in the Soweto area, and came away with more questions than answers.  We counted a significant number of Mercedes and BMWs coming and going in the neighborhoods.  We saw well dressed folks coming and going.  We saw clearly malnourished kids wandering among cardboard and tin shantys.  There was a government employee strike during our visit and the large hospital at the hear of the area was completely empty.  It was heavily fortified by the military.  Where did the patients go?  We understood that locals that attempt to volunteer during the strike are attacked.

So many difficult questions.  No easy answers.

Our impression of the Soweto was dramatically different than our visit to Swaziland.  The Swazi situation felt hopeless.  The Soweto again presented a constant dichotomy.  It appeared like some had found the escape hatch from desperation.

Please follow and like us:
1