A Busy Day

Our first day of activities in Joburg was exciting and packed with tons of meetings and events! Olivia, Campbell, Hannah and I started early with chocolate croissants and coffee from Café de la Crème, which is right across the street from our guest house. The croissants were super delicious and cost only 12 rand, which equates to less than a dollar in American money. Then, we ventured back to meet Annetta, Marit and Nate for a morning meeting, where we discussed our assignments and the plan for the day.

We loaded into the van and drove to Constitution Hill, which was actually pretty close. It is a spacious historic site in the center of Johannesburg that is mostly outdoors. The site combines the old British fort, former men’s and women’s prisons, and the relatively new Supreme Court House, which connects the history of the City into one space. All it is missing is a mine!

A man named Fhatuwani Rambau met with us to tell us about what the museum’s mission and goals are within the community. Constitution Hill is working hard to help supplement the education that youth receive from schools by providing free public programs for as many members of the community as possible. We also got to ask Fhatuwani tons of questions and listen to his perspective on various issues in South Africa and learn how to say thank you in various South African languages.

Of course, Fhatuwani had to get back to work, and we were ready for lunch. Constitution Hill just opened a café, so we sat outside and got lunch. As soon as we walked through the gates to the café, we smelled the fresh orange juice and all ordered juice with our meals. While everything has been great so far, the juice is definitely on my list of top favorite things! We spent a long time eating lunch, which was really nice because I think we all felt tired from diving into activities so quickly.

After lunch, we had to get back to the van to head to our next site, David Krut Gallery. The gallery is actually more than just a gallery, as they produce prints as well. Jill, a master printer works with artists to create and print prints, and has a super complex job. She talked with us about what she does and showed us many different projects that she has worked on.

We had a hard time following the start-to-finish process of printmaking, so we got to watch some of the workers as they made their prints. We were fascinated by a man who was mixing colors. His print apparently turned out the wrong shade of blue, but all of the blues looked the same to us. Apparently, we’re just not meant to be master printers!

But, we gave it a go anyways. After a dinner break, we met back in the room and Nate gave us a lesson in printmaking. We created patterns and stamped them on notebooks to hand out as thank-you gifts as we continue meeting people and learning about their jobs in South African Museums and cultural sites. They may not be printed in the perfect shade of blue, but I think we were all pretty happy with the way they turned out.