My apologies for my delayed blog entry, I promise the rest will be done in a timely fashion. My name is Addis Tesfaye, a current senior, double majoring in Human Resources Development and Business and Marketing Education. I was born and raised in Ethiopia. For the 12 years that I lived there, the only thing I knew about South Africa was that many Africans didn't consider South Africa as an African country or think of it as "real Africa". Although I knew and accepted that perception, I was too young to ask, know, or understand why many people felt that way about South Africa. After I moved to the U.S, I remember taking many history courses, but not once did I learn about South Africa. As a result, deep down, I always had a lingering desire to answer the question "why South Africa seemed removed from other African countries". It wasn't until I talked to a past participant in this program that learned about apartheid just two years ago, and once I did some research on my own, I was angry and upset to say the least. I was also disappointed that my education nor my African country prepared or taught me about the horrific apartheid era. This created a big desire for me not to just learn about apartheid and how that has affected South Africa, but also how it affected South Africa's relationship with other African nations. The more people I talked to and more I learned about South African history, I couldn't help but get even more angry, and I simply don't know how else to react.
A part of trip deals with forgiveness- in order to heal, progress and create change. This is one of the main reasons why I came here. I want to be able to learn how to forgive. How do you forgive a race that is responsible for a horrific past, present and in many ways the future? How do you forgive a race that dehumanizes, marginalizes, and disenfranchises people based on a socially constructed idea? How do you forgive those that are responsible for the highest disparity between the rich and the poor? How do you forgive those that have betrayed the majority to benefit only themselves? and why would you choose to forgive those who have yet taken accountability for their actions? These are some of the hard questions that I want to explore while I am here.