Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A week to kill, so I go visit Soweto and the Swazis

Week of February 21 - 28

I get super lucky and manage to get all my paperwork in on monday morning for my visa to Ghana. It says 3 working days, but like everything here, it would be longer. So I budgeted a week to stay in South Africa. I can get my visa back within 24 hrs, actually for an extra 20 USD.
With time to kill, I get out of Pretoria to Swaziland, now that I have a passport.


It looks like South Africa but is governed separately. There is also a swazi king who gets to pick a new wife later this year. He already has a dozen or so wives. While the government is independent from RSA, they still share a lot of the same infrastructure. One thing that is obvious though is that swaziland is a very homogeneous culture. They all speak their own language - swazi and take pride in being an independent nation. There are plenty of NGOs that work with local communities in various crafts to help provide a living to large groups of people. The money is different but it has the same value as the rand. I meet some peace corp workers on break. I hear they get updates on their cell phones for potentially dangerous places to avoid in swaziland.


I did a short tour of soweto before climbing on my flight to accra. We learn about the history and its role in the anti-apartheid movement from our guide. Later we visit a museum named after a young boy called Hector. He was one of the kids in 1976 that was gunned down by the police because he didn't want to learn Afrikaans in school. Really horrifying the stories and documentaries. Afrikaans, a language that is similar to and created by the dutch settlers, was forced upon the colored & black populations as a form of control. We also saw desmond tutus and nelson mandelas homes. Very touristy - tutu's backyard.

No comments: