Our second day in Johannesburg started off at the Apartheid Museum where we first met with Wayde Davy. We sat down with Wayde and learned about the museum and its role within society and educating the youth about their history. We also discussed how they keep the museum relevant especially considering the current political struggle. The museum also collaborates with other exhibitions and people to tell their stories and perspectives that are contextually relevant. It was really interesting hearing what Wayde had to say about the youth in South Africa and how many of them struggle with getting jobs even if they are educated because of disparities that are still evident.
After talking with Wayde we went through the actual museum and got an even better look into the evolution of South Africa’s history and how apartheid was introduced. While I had a superficial understanding of apartheid, the museum definitely gave me better insight to all the events that happened leading up to and during apartheid. I found the personal stories and accounts as well as the videos and pictures interesting because it gave me more understanding of how life was during those times.
We then had a quick lunch at the café at the museum where I had delicious pasta, and we had some time to look through the gift shop where I bought a CD called “The Great South African Trip” which I am really excited to listen to!
After that we went to Constitution Hill where we went through the men and women’s prisons where Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Winnie Mandela, among others were all held at some point. Seeing the conditions that the prisoners (especially the men) were subjected to were awful, but reading about the prisoners’ experiences and seeing the different cells they were kept in was startling. Afterwards we walked around the ramparts surrounding the Old Fort just as the sun was about to set; being up there gave us a beautiful view of Johannesburg so we definitely had to take the opportunity to get a cool squad picture!
We then went into the Constitutional Court which was literally right next door. I was surprised by just how much art they had, from permanent installation art to art on display through out the rest of the building; it almost felt like an art gallery instead of a court. Afterwards we came back to the guest house and learned how to do basic printmaking using rubber blocks that we carved out to create patterns that we found at the Constitutional Court.
For dinner we went to the IT Café where I had a (mushy) chickpea burger and iced mint tea (just a chunk of straight up mint leaves in water). It took us four some time to figure out how to successfully split the bill using cash, but we eventually figured it out thanks to Kiana!