We have left Johannesburg after an extraordinary three days and have landed safely in Richards Bay for a two day safari and hippopotamus & crocodile tour.
Today, in the morning, we traveled to Soweto to visit the FNB Stadium, formerly Soccer City, that is known for the rebuild for the World Cup 2010. The stadium’s capacity is 94,000 people. The first game played in this stadium was played between South Africa and Mexico. Also the last game from the World Cup 2010 was in the Spanish against Netherlands. But the stadium not only have good stories like this. We learned today that 32 people since today died because they wanted to see a match. They crushed the fences down and came so in the stadium. During this many people got killed because they were stampeded. The stadium is owned today by the “FNB” and is used by the local team called the Kaizer Chiefs. The city of Soweto is only getting money for their city from the soccer stadiums.
In the afternoon, we took a 5-mile bike ride through the town of Soweto, the home of Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, leaders of the anti-apartheid movement. The June 16, 1976 uprising when approximately 10,000 students marched peacefully for equal education took place in Soweto. Two students were killed and hundreds were injured and the anti-apartheid movement grew stronger. We visited the museum, Nelson Mandela’s home, and Bishop Tutu’s home too. Afterwards, we all ate food prepared by the locals.
After a relaxing breakfast, we were off to seeing some famous graffiti art in Johannesburg. Jo, the graffiti art tour guide joined us to give us some explanations about how graffiti art came to be so well known to the people in South Africa and its significant roles. Unlike other places, Johannesburg legalized graffiti art due to the degeneration of the city. Degeneration in the city center was due to the social issue called ‘The Group Areas Act’. The law was implemented to make sure different races did not reside together. It officially ended in 1994 and gentrification began. Since this town was built to carry only whites, or 9% of the people, after the law was removed, the community overflew with the influx of black people. The powerful white people who were already dwelling in the town kicked black people out and caused many problems. These problems led people to use graffiti art to express their feelings and bring out freedom. Nowadays, artists who want to leave any marks on the wall have to get permissions from the government. All the works that we saw today were permission based art. Most of the artists left their names on the wall: Mars, Taps, Decor one, Demolition Squad.
In the afternoon we traveled to the Apartheid Museum that chronicles the struggle for equality in Souty Africa. There is a special wing devoted to Nelson Mandela.
Stay tuned. Lunch in Johannesburg before we start our day. We arrived at the airport at 8 am. Then, we went our hotel called the Curiocity. We had lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we went to the Constitutional Hill, the highest court and a former prison. The tour guide taught us about how prisoners lived and mistreated. Prisoners had differences in living condition depended on their races. Gangsters were one of the major part of prisoners, which had privileges like more living space and food. Then, we went to the highest court; we had a view on the process of judgement and the setting of the court. Lastly, we went back to the hotel and had dinner.
We’re off to Johannesburg! All students arrived at Ross by 5:00 am and arrived at the airport in plenty of time for the plane to Johannesburg. No problems with passports and visas as everyone gets ready for the 14 hour flight. We arrived in Johannesburg at 8:30 am and ready for day two.
This is the official blog for 2018 South Africa Field Academy! Please check daily for our exciting adventures.