Yesterday was a very busy day one that produced deep thought and a stream of different emotions. The first tour of the day was to the district six museum and the guide that led the tour was a man of colour that lived through the entire apartheid movement. That was truly like a breathe of fresh air, as the history of a tragedy is usually recapped by the oppressor or an outside party. The story behind the district six destruction is very similar to many American tragedies, but I was shocked at the fact that the history is still so fresh and the people who were affected are trying to coexist as one.
After Distract 6, our group then visited the Cathedral, one that was viewed as a "safe zone" for all races during Apartheid; however, that was not always the case, as we learned that many of key figures of the church were arrested multiple times. I think one important piece that I took away, as a white girl, from the cathedral was the role of white people, especially women. The amazing experience bestowed upon us from the first tour guide, as a man of color, during the Apartheid gave us a phenomenal experience; however, at the same time, I think it is important to recognize that the white women who gave us the tour of the Cathedral were also a part of Apartheid. Although during Apartheid a lot of white people did some horrendous things, at the same time, there were also some white people fighting for what was right. I also think it is important to point out the role of religion in power. From what we learned, it seems as if religion was used as both a justification for the whites and a defense for the Africans; as in, depending upon what side of the fight you were on, religion could take a whole different meaning.
We also went to the slave lodge and I can say that my response to the slave lodge was much similar to the district six museum. I found two points of the tour that spoke volumes to me, there was a video that was played that summarized the slavery in South Africa, and then there was a point in the film when the Afrikaans were glorified. I found this to be frustrating being that the Afrikaans were the oppressors of the slaves and the root cause of the apartheid movement. I also thought heavily about the glorification of men of color throughout history such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu, Ghandi for doing what was right. It just highlighted the amount of wrong doing and moral corrosion of the majority that have caused so much of the oppression throughout history.
Courtney Bell & Cassy Sadowski