Exploring Cape Town and Learning the Ways!

Exciting news: I am officially a UCT student with a student ID and email address.  Alright, it is not as exciting as it sounds because that means that school is just around the corner.  I got my schedule situated and all of my classes figured out… unfortunately one of my classes has required fieldwork involved with it so I am unable to go on the trip to Krueger National Park with the rest of the IES kids during the semester break.  I am pretty darn bummed about this but hopefully I’ll be able to make it up to the national park on my own (or with my parents!) and do all the safari-like adventures.  Other than that, I’m really excited for my classes this semester.  I am taking Life on Land: Animals (my biology course with the required fieldwork), Understanding Gender (an African studies focused class), Race, Class, and Gender, along with my IES class that is focused around healthcare.  So, I’m hoping that it will be a good semester… with a bit less work than what I am used to, but there will definitely still be work involved.

The past two days have been full of exploration and trying to figure out the way around the city.  Yesterday, a few of us made our way downtown and we walked to the Waterfront… I was blown away by how pretty and big it was!  The atmosphere was really fun and laid back with a few carnival rides, street performers, boats, and shops.  Of course they seem to have my favorite everywhere… ice cream… so we may have enjoyed a bit of that as well.  The weather here has still been unusually warm for the winter season, but I am certainly not complaining… it makes exploring quite nice!

Today we started off at the District 6 Museum downtown and the tour was very powerful.  Our tour guide (a colored individual) actually lived in district six before the apartheid rules were instilled so we got to hear a firsthand account of the events that went on and his tour was very powerful.  Prior to 1966, district six was a happy, little community with all sorts of races represented and living with one another in peace.  In 1966 when the apartheid rules were put into place, whites were given the land and in 1970, the government began forced removal of anyone living in the district that was not of white descent.  In 1975, our tour guide stood with his family and witnessed his home being demolished with bulldozers.  This had been his family home where generations before him had lived… immediately gone.  It took 11 years for the government to clear the entire district and in its place they built a college and various shops.  During this time, the nonwhites were denied of everything from proper medical care to education to any and all rights.  He even had a neighboring family that consisted of a white father with a black mother and their three kids.  With the new rules, the family was forced to separate and live in separate areas.  In order for one to see the other, they had to obtain a permit from the police station for a short visitation.  Like I said, it was crazy to hear what kind of things these people lived through but it was very powerful and impactful… especially coming from someone who lived through it.  Random fact: Michelle Obama actually visited the museum less than a month ago!

The rest of the day was spent on a tour around the city.  We visited St. George’s Mall and the Green Market Square where we had some time to shop and see crafty work of the local artists.  Then we headed towards the Waterfront once again… and again, it was fabulous.  I have a feeling that this will be a popular location for me this semester whether it be to study, grab coffee with a friend, or just hangout and listen to the music and such!  This is also the first time I’ve really been without a car so I’ve been learning the ways of the train and the minibuses… it certainly makes me appreciate how convenient a car is as I can go wherever and whenever I want.  I have also gained a great appreciation when we drive across town in the minibuses that are crammed with twenty or so people and the one guy in the back has to get off!

One more day of freedom before school…

~Susan

My House 🙂 I finally got a picture of it!

The Waterfront (with Table Mountain in the back)

Description of the races at the District Six Museum

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