2017 South Africa October, Cultural Days

Johannesburg

After a fine breakfast, we boarded a bus for a tour of Soweto and Johannesburg. In Soweto (the name comes from Southwest Township) we saw a wide range of housing levels, much as we had seen through the week, and saw the homes of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. We stopped at the Hector Pieterson Memorial. Pieterson was only 12 when he was one of the first students killed by police on June 16, 1976 during a student march in Soweto, protesting the apartheid government’s education system for black students. A news photo of another student carrying the critically injured Pieterson in his arms spread worldwide and brought attention to the situation in apartheid South Africa.

We had a chance to shop from street vendors and tour through the city of Johannesburg, which in many ways was much like big cities in the U.S. After lunch we had the opportunity to spend time at the Apartheid Museum, which also had a traveling Mandela exhibit.

Lion & Safari Park

After breakfast, we concluded our trip with a visit to the Lion & Safari Park. We saw lion cubs, a cheetah, meerkats, wildebeest, impalas, ostriches, lions and wild dogs. Afterward, we enjoyed lunch at the park, then some final shopping and off for the airport, where we had to say farewell to our new friends Ivan and Fedor, who had been such wonderful companions. We left with mixed feelings, grateful for the privilege to make this trip, but sad to leave our new friends behind. The 16 ½ hour flight back to Atlanta would be only the beginning of our work to process and reflect on all that God had given us the chance to see and do.