We didn't have any internet access until yesterday at our hostel in Durban, so I haven't really been able to update until now. I also typed up a blog entry and saved it on my laptop, but I can't copy and paste because I'm using the computers at the SIT office (I'm too lazy to get out my computer and set it up at the moment). Anyway, after a ridiculously long flight in which I sat next to this weird woman who did absolutely nothing (literally, she just sat there and looked around!), we arrived in Johannesburg around 5:00 pm on Saturday, where our group got together and we took our mini-bus to this lodge/hostel where we stayed until Wednesday. The lodge used to be a seminary school where Desmond Tutu used to attend until it was shut down after it lost funding for refusing to teach requirements under the Bantu Education Act during apartheid.
Our stay in Johannesburg included a trip to the Constitutional Court (one of only 3 in the world), Soweto, and the Apartheid museum. The Court was really cool and also had an art gallery that represented the apartheid struggle. Later that afternoon we went to Soweto where we saw Desmond Tutu's and Nelson Mandela's homes. Although we didn't actually SEE Mandela's because the property was all boarded up. His house was turned into a museum and is currently being renovated. We also went to the Hector Pieterson museum that commenorates the student protests in Soweto in 1976 in which many students where killed by police while they were peacefully protesting. Hector Pieterson was famous because of a photo that was taken during the first major protest- he was shot in the mouth and a fellow student carried him to a clinic where he died.
On the way back from Soweto, we also got to see two stadiums that will be used for the World Cup in 2010. The major stadium, which the name has escaped me at the moment, is still under construction, but it still looks really neat! They're also building one in Durban (I saw it today). We also stopped at a really cool sabeena for lunch in Soweto and they had the most amazing bread ever! I wish I had some right now!
On Monday, we mostly stayed at the lodge to go over basic safety stuff and we had our first introductory Zulu lesson. We also ventured to a mall to buy cell phones and other things (my number, should you really want to call me is (27 071-061-8714). We also took a tour of the school next door to us, and then watched a movie about the influence of apartheid on African music. It was really interesting because many of the songs they sang were upbeat but said things like "Watch out police, we'll kill you" and the police had no idea what they were saying because it's in a different language. We also learned about this dance called the Toyi Toyi, which is pretty much an intense march, that they created in the 80's.
I'm not quite done with telling about all of my Johannesburg adventures yet, but I have to get going because we're leaving for dinner. I am in Durban now, though, so it will be much easier for me to access the internet and update. I'll try to get some pictures up soon, too! Bye for now!