August 18, 2009 - by
South Africa Diary #7 – Kayli Keough

Aug. 18, 2009





We woke up and it was storming so we weren’t able to take our trip up
to the top of Table Mountain. I was really disappointed we didn’t,
hopefully we will be able to make it tomorrow before we go. Instead,
we went to Long Street, a historical area in the heart of Cape Town,
for some shopping and sight-seeing.

I thought it was really cool just because you could kind of see the
actual shops and then the market in the middle. The ones we had gone
to before was just like one strip, but this one actually had shops to
go into and more things to look at. They had tons of really cool
stuff, and some of the girls on the team got custom made necklaces. I
bought two canvas paintings. The first was of an African woman sitting
down, but the texture of the paint made her seem hidden. The second
was of an African village. I’m either going to hang them up in my
apartment or use them for a scrap book.

Next we went to the Robben Island Museum. Robben Island is the prison
where Nelson Mandela, and hundreds of other political activists were
unjustly imprisoned by the Apartheid regime. Apartheid is when the
whites, who made of 20-percent of the population, ruled the blacks,
who made up 80-percent of the population. Even though we weren’t able
to take the boat out to the island, the museum was very cool.

You can really tell how important it is to the South Africans,
everything that Nelson Mandela did. Seeing a place where he was able
to formulate a lot of his ideas, and still be able to come up with his
ideas for a better Africa was really cool. Even though he was
imprisoned he still had faith that he would be elected and that he
could make a difference for his people. There were so many political
prisoners on Robben Island, it was crazy to learn about some of it. I
had never heard that people with leprosy were exiled, and people that
were exposed to it were sent to the island to die.

It is so weird to think about how recent the struggle for equal rights
was in South Africa. Apartheid ended in 1994. In the US we had the
civil rights movement in the 1960s, and then you had Africa that was
going through similar circumstances so many years later. Every person
that has talked to us about South Africa on our trip has told us about
the impact of the Apartheid regime, and these people have lived
through it. They’ve lived with these issues that we would normally
think about were way in the past, but they lived through it and
experienced it.

It’s so awesome to know that Nelson Mandela and his followers were
able to take power without revenge in mind. They didn’t want to take
over the whites, or rule them, they wanted to work together with them
for progress and the good of South Africa.

After the Robben Island Museum we checked out the Two Oceans Aquarium.
It was cool, you could see the different kinds of animals. A lot of
the trips I’ve been on have had an aquatic element, so it was cool to
see the difference between the animals here and the animals there;
like the really big spider crabs. I had never seen anything like that.
I like sharks a lot and they had a giant tank. It was neat to see some
of the fun facts. Only nine people die a year in South Africa from
shark attacks, but hundreds die from defective toasters.

We head back to the United States tomorrow. I’m so sad. I packed up my
stuff today. It’s all in my suitcase and it’s really upsetting. This
trip has been crazy. It’s been more than I ever expected to be able to
experience in my life. Without basketball, I would never have been
able to do something like this. It’s been an eye opening experience to
a beautiful and diverse culture. I think that this trip will change
the way that I look at other people’s circumstances, I’ll be able to
look at more of their background to understand the way they work and
how where they came from affects who they are. Life isn’t just about
what you see on TV. Despite all some of the bad things these people
live with, they are able to find the good things and find joy in life.
They aren’t wrapped up in all the material things that we’re wrapped
up in.

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