Monday Musings: On just dropping by.

Good Monday, all.

I’m just dropping by, since that’s all I seem capable of these days. But these few random musings I felt compelled to share.

vilakazi

A couple of years ago, I had the good fortune to travel to South Africa, a life-changing experience. I never thought I would go to Africa — I never felt its calling, as some do. That is until I went. South Africa is a fascinating, devastating, infuriating, inspiring country, and I will feel connected to it in my soul for the rest of my days. It’s hard to explain unless — until, I hope — you visit yourself. So, though we knew it was coming, Nelson Mandela’s death last week struck a chord. He was an amazing man who lived an extraordinary life. Continue reading

South Africa, Day 6: Johannesburg and Soweto.

Miss a post, or want to read from the beginning? Click here.

I feel like those kids on “How I Met Your Mother”: Dad, it’s taken you a year to tell this story.

Well, yes, 6 months … but we’re getting there.

It’s now Day 6, the first morning in Johannesburg. Finally, finally, we awake to clear, sunny skies.

View from the top of the Westcliff.

Keep reading »

The art of forgiveness.

It’s T-minus 10 days until I depart for the continent of Africa … eek!

In the last few weeks, my travel group has been meeting for several pre-trip sessions to educate ourselves on South Africa’s history, culture and current events. At a recent session we watched “Long Night’s Journey into Day,” a documentary about the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that began in the late 1990s. The TRC was formed by President Nelson Mandela in an attempt to heal the nation after the era of apartheid, and the commission invited all South Africans, whether jailed for their crimes or not, to come forward and publicly confess to any politically-motivated atrocities they committed during apartheid. They could also apply for amnesty from criminal and civil prosecution. The TRC seems to have a strong faith component as well; it was chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who called the TRC a “national program of reconciliation.” To read more about the TRC, click here.

The documentary featured the stories of four groups appearing before the commission. Many Americans may recall the 1993 murder of student Amy Biehl — one of her murderers, Mongezi Manqina, is featured as he applied for (and was granted) amnesty. Others, such as Eric Taylor, a white security police officer who killed four black anti-apartheid activists known as the Cradock Four, were not. Keep reading »

I bless the rains down in Africa.

I received some very important mail this weekend … my travel documents for South Africa! I hinted back in January about a big international trip I was taking and now I can confirm it. In May we’re going to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria. Really, they had me at “safari,” “winery tour” and “high tea.”

This trip will mark my second time crossing the equator, and adds another continent to my count: 4. Like most things, my father has declared that to be a competition, so we’ll just have to see who makes it to Antarctica first. My money’s on him.

I have a couple of months to study up, and I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself. I’ve already watched Invictus, and my grandmother keeps recommending various Nelson Mandela biographies. I’ll tackle those in my “spare time,” I suppose.

Oh, and I hear it looks like this. Whoa.