Passport Crawl: Johannesburg

With the safari finished we decided to stay in Johannesburg for 3 days. We spent so much time exploring the African countryside it was time to see what the cities were like.

  1. Cradle of Humankind

Here bones from the all different types of human species have been found. They take you down into the cave where these bones were found. You hear stories of bottomless lakes and hear how the first men survived. When you step out of this cave you cannot shake the feeling that you are walking were hundreds of thousands of years ago people walked.

Our tour guide for the day was Tabong (probably spelling it wrong but this the phonetic). He is such an intelligent young 20s man who spoke to us about apartheid and how race relations were in South Africa. Considering the environment in the USA it was a thought provoking discussion.

2. Soweto Tour

Where the revolution all began, where Nelson Mandela was from, where 13 year old students organized protests to take down the old system. We are taken through complexes with large houses, larger fences and video cameras to shanty houses made of metal. The disparity and poverty in this area is separated by a hilltop where the rich literally live on. Learning about how apartheid affected the black citizens of South Africa will shock you. Learning this all ENDED in 1991 will shock you even more. This is recent shit.

While on this tour we learned the women of South Africa organized their own march on August 8th 1956. They knew things were changing and they were not going to be left out of the conversation. This day is celebrated every year, it is clear a women’s voice is listened to in this country and women are making some serious moves.

3. SAB Beer Tour

Just don’t do this. Apparently its the #1 tourist attraction on trip advisor. It is really gimmicky and doesn’t feel like a commercial brewery tour. If you want to a good drink head to Maboneng to grab a drink at the Living Room or to Pata Pata for some local eats.

4. Constitution Hill

The last place we visited was Con Hill to see the jail that Nelson Mandela stayed in briefly and hear how it fit into the apartheid. We learned how horribly they were treated and saw what they went through. We left South Africa in their new court room after reading bits from their constitution newly ratified. Outside the building lists the name in their 11 national languages showing their attempt at equality and inclusivity.

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” – Nelson Mandela

I spent the final night with a friend from DC who recently relocated to Joburg. She introduced me to her friends, all creative types with their hands in multiple endeavors, apparently the norm. Since it was National Women’s Day the manager brought us over shots. We cheers to the women before us who took the freedom we deserved and have helped create the future I live in now.  Cheers to them.

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