Another update. A lot has happened in the last few weeks. Those who are close to me know about the big event and everything that went on around it. Either than that we have had time now to relax and actually feel the fever, the world cup fever.
World Cup 2010
South Africa is drunk on patriotism. We have our flags, our shirts and yes I also got a car mirror flag :). The roads are finally opening up (there was lots of construction). The new highways are great. I have been moving between Pretoria and Johannesburg a lot. The fever has hit fever pitch and South Africa is bracing itself for the most unproductive work month in South African history. Living in central Pretoria has been great and the city has gotten in on the party. The gardens outside city hall are illuminated at night and have bead sculptures for the world cup. The streets are full of flags and I was lucky to see a municipality parade when the world cup trophy was at city hall. I worked at home until a submission and now just taking some brief time off to just enjoy my new life journey. We were lucky enough (made sure we got tickets) to see Bafana Bafana (South Africa football team) beat Denmark on the 5th of June. It was a great day. We got to the stadium early and shared in the joy with South Africans of all colours (very important in SA). The event was great and thats when the fever for me really started. I will not be catching another Bafana game during the world cup as I leave in the middle but was grateful to see the team before the cup started.
South Africa and Race
This we can never run away from. South Africans are always walking a tightrope when it comes to race relations. I was very very very very happy the other day when I went to the bank and the Afrikaans lady who was ahead of me in the queue walked over to the teller and actually carried a whole banking conversation in Setswana. Why was I happy? Because at the moment I wanted to converse with her in Afrikaans (Even though my speaking is bad), it was not her doing it because she should but because she wanted to and it brought her that little bit closer to the employee who was helping her. Thats the South Africa that was envisioned by those who wanted it to be a free country. We have such a richness and being relevant locally is great. Okay I know that was a bit of a rant, and it was my rant. Catch me up on conversation if you want more of that later on.
Fulbright 2010 and CRS 2010
I had the wonderful experience to attend some Fulbright events last week. Me and Thembi attended the opening reception and met with the new Fulbright scholars for 2010/2011. Was another humbling experience meeting fellow country men and women doing the most amazing things. I salute them and wish them all the luck when they join the rest of us later in the year. I also go the chance to meet Judge Leona Theron. She got me thinking again on what it means to actually do work that is meaningful. Change your world and that of others! I then had a number of sessions with the new Fulbright scholars. Just giving some advise on what they should expect in the US and also sharing some experiences that I had in my first two semesters. I mentioned a lot my new friends in the US so hopefully do not have to pay any royalty fees for using your names. I also cant wait when Thembi comes over later in the year and we get to experience it all together.
In the same week I also got a great opportunity to meet the new campers for Camp Rising Sun 2010. I was a camper back in 2002 and those experiences shaped my current work and life. I am so so grateful for the opportunity I got then and always love meeting the new campers. I was the lead selector for a number of years and now have passed on that baton. The campers are always inspiring young leaders and as per the words of one of the speakers, "the future of South Africa is bright" with these young leaders at the helm. I will make it a point to visit the camp in late July for one of the weekends.
Beings and Doings
What have we done since the last update.
- Big Event.
- Went to the Bafana Bafana vs. Denmark game on the 5th of June. Enjoyed and South Africa won 1-0. Atmosphere was more than electric.
- Went to watch Without Blood at the South African State Theater. It was an intimate show and we enjoyed it. Was very disappointed that Lion of the East was canceled. Looked forward to a Mbongeni Ngema musical.
- We went back to Soweto a couple of times. We joined the black diamonds (Taki and Thato) at Panyaza in Mofolo.
- We went to the Mandela House Museum on Vilakazi Street. Was a great experience for me but was disappointing due to the poor guides and commercialization of the house. Good thing I had my Rutgers ID to get a large discount :), not too great for Thembi :(.Was a great time to reflect on a family that went through a lot for the country. And not to forget the rest of those who fought and sacrificed for the rest of us to be where we are today. The experience would have been better if the guide was someone I could have conversed with more about the history around the area and the time. We got more information from reading the pamphlet and me recalling my South African history reading from last year. I would have liked to just have a space to sit and read in the house and just feel being in the time. It has been turned into "a spectacle" as Cornel West would say. The substance is glanced over. Its great for the tourists as this is just one stop in their list of many but I think it misses the chance of a deep insight into Nelson Mandela and his family.
We will also be going to Freedom Park in Pretoria in the next few days to remember all who sacrificed for this countries future. I did something mischievous here but lets leave that for after the visit.
- We visited Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg on a wonderful Sunday afternoon. Weather was great and we walked around the precinct.
- Visited Ditsong Museum of Natural History (Previously Transvaal Museum of Natural History).
- Visited the Pretoria Town Hall
- Visited Museum Africa and Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown Johannesburg.
Visual Moving Art
We also got a chance to share in some great film, documentaries, and talks
- Capitalism: A love Story
- For the Bible Tells Me So
- Secrets of the Psychics Revealed
- Grizzly Man
- Into the Wild
- Requiem for A Dream
- Law and Disorder In Johannesburg
- Cornel West Age of Obama Talk at Rutgers 2010 Link to Video
- A lot of TED talks
Just to name a few. They are all great pieces and I am sure Thembi would attest to that. Expand your horizons and watch just some of these.
What is there still to do.
A world cup match awaits us in Nelspruit on the 20th of June. This will be our last big trip. In between there it will be time to slow down and just be at home with family and getting ready to leave again. It has been a great time being back in South Africa with loved ones and experiencing all I have. I am grateful and feel very blessed at the moment. I have seen a lot of family and friends. I have met little ones and old ones. Another great update for my friends. This one is again over 1200 words long. Maybe I am getting used to this. Ohh and the Gautrain. Yes we are going to ride that train!