Today is a national holiday in S. Africa called National Youth Day, which memorializes the death of a number of children during riots against Apartheid in Soweto on June 16, 1976.
We went to the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto (just outside Jo’Burg). Hector, who was one of the children to die during the chaos, became an icon when this photograph of him carried by a fellow student after being shot by police was published in print media throughout the world:
We were also fortunate enough to visit the Apartheid Museum in Jo’burg (which oddly shares an entrance and parking lot with an amusement park and casino). The experience was a sobering and horrifying depiction of a brutal policy that the country has not fully rebounded from.
The S. African students we’re collaborating with have been amazing and gracious in educating us and providing insight into a time period I can’t begin to wrap my mind around.
On a lighter note, in case you are ever in S. Africa and someone tells you to wait for the green robot, they’re telling you to wait for the traffic light to turn green. Yes, traffic lights here are called robots.
I also challenged my simplistic diet of non-perishable food items this afternoon and bravely ordered oxtail (which is exactly as it sounds) for lunch today. The method of eating this pot-roast-tasting meat is similar to eating chicken off the bone, except in this case the bone isn’t a leg or wing, it’s a vertebrae.