Julia’s friend told her, “When you meet anyone in Africa, it’s like you’ve met a long-lost relative.” If that’s true (and I think it must be), tonight was our family reunion! We were invited to have dinner and to attend a worship service at one of the “colored” churches outside King Williamstown, and it was like coming home.
Colored is one of the four racial designations that is a remnant from apartheid, a time when privileges were doled out according to the color of your skin – white, Indian, colored (mixed race), and Black African – and the amount of privileges were received in that order.
The worship service was a pleasant end to a day of cultural learning and conversation. The morning was spent touring “The Great Place,” a community center and administrative seat built post-apartheid for the king of the Rharajes. Since apartheid, the South African government works to rule in conjunction and collaboration with the Black African kingdoms and tribes.
Next, we had the opportunity to meet the staff of the Steve Biko Foundation. Mr. Biko was an anti-apartheid student activist who fought for the rights of Black Africans until his arrest and death, which occurred while he was a prisoner of the former government.
The congregation of the Bellstone Community Church was able to provide some real-life perspective on life in South Africa under apartheid and since. As the minister’s son said, the progress that has been made to bring freedom to all people of South Africa in just over ten years is nothing short of a miracle.
Note: Tomorrow the team travels to a rural township to work with the Thembani Day Care Centre. Internet access may not be an option, so updates may be spotty.