We started off our South Africa trip with a day in Johannesburg so decided that we would go to the Apartheid Museum and do the Soweto tour.
We got to the Apartied Museum and were shocked at the entrance to see that there were two entrances to the main museum. One entrance for whites and one entrance for non-whites.
This for a change was not decided by the colour of your skin, but instead by what it said on your entrance ticket. My ticket said ‘White’ and my mum’s ticket said ‘Non-White’.
Whilst this was shocking to experience, I also thought it was an amazing way to do it, as it really hit home that this was once a normality.
The end of this segregation was a couple of years after I was born so wasn’t really part of a lifetime that I remember but it was within my mum’s lifetime and she remembers it well.
In my entrance there were various signs with various peoples stories. One story I read was about a man who was classed as coloured because he had one white parent and one black parent. He lived in an area that white people lived and had a white persons job but because his skin wasn’t white he wasn’t classified as white. When the 1985 reclassifications came about all of this was questioned and he was reclassified as white.. It’s absolutely crazy that back then you could be classed and declassed as a colour based on what one person says. How shocking is that?
During these reclassifications there were a lot of classification amendments from white to non-white and non-white to white.
From there we walked to the area of the exhibition that was entirely about Nelson Mandela. In this exhibition there was a video from the 1995 rugby World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand where Nelson Mandela, now President Nelson Mandela, comes onto the pitch in a South Africa rugby shirt and cap. On his arrival the crowd started cheering and shouting ‘Nelson, Nelson, Nelson’. This was back when rugby was predominantly a white persons sport, so to have this reaction was a massive sign of change. I cried watching this video.
This exhibition was super informative and I left knowing so much more about Nelson Mandela.
After we finished in this exhibition we wandered around the rest of the museum and then it was time for our tour of Soweto.
We started our tour at a place called Motsoaledi, which is a township in Soweto that is extremely poor. Words can’t describe how shocked and heart broken I felt when I walked in this area.
Their homes were practically just metal huts and their toilets were wooden ‘cabins’ with holes in the floor. It really made me feel so thankful for what I have.
Despite having so little the people in this area were so happy and full of smiles and joy. It just goes to show that you can be a truly happy person regardless of what you have or what you don’t have.
After our tour round Motsoaledi we headed over to the Hector Pieterson memorial and museum.
Hector Pieterson memorial and museum is in honour of Hector Pieterson who was shot and killed by police during the anti-apartheid Soweto uprising on 16 June 1976. He was 13 years old.
It was such a heartbreaking place to visit and to hear how many children were killed by law enforcement, all because they protested against something they didn’t believe in.
What really shocks me is knowing that this horrific event was only 42 years ago! I really can’t get my head around the fact that this really wasn’t that long ago. Before coming to South Africa I really did not realise that this world was still a place of major discrimination during my parents lifetime, it really goes to show how much has changed since then.
There still is a long way to go on the discrimination front but we’re getting there slowly but surely.
After we finished hearing about the memorial site and had walked around the museum we headed over to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu’s houses.
Nelson Mandela’s house is open to the public and you can go in and wander around. He donated it the Soweto Heritage Trust in 1997 and it was declared a National Heritage Site in 1999. We decided not to go in so stood by the fence that looks into his garden, whilst our tour guide told us various facts about his house. Did you know all 3 of Nelson Mandela’s wives lived there? Or that a group of people set his house on fire, supposedly thinking he or his wife Winnie were inside?
After we finished up here we headed back to our hotel and went straight to dinner at the hotels steak restaurant The Bull Run. We went straight to bed after dinner as we had to be up early the next morning for the next part of our South Africa adventure.
More posts coming about the rest of my South Africa trip so keep an eye out.
Thanks for reading x