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A South African Cross-Cultural Perspective

I traveled to South Africa with 31 friends for two weeks of adventure! For kicks, my South African friend gave us three tests on South African cultural perspectives and media representations; I failed all three.

Imagine traveling 16 hours, to visit a place known as the cradle of civilization and secretly wanting to get a glimpse of a respected world leader who helped to end apartheid; only to have the dream crushed! Nelson Mandela died within 48 hours of our visit. I went seeking an adventure, instead, built bridges and participated in a global cultural exchange. Imagine, being at the right place at the right time!

We visited Pretoria, Cape Town, Soweto, Matjiesfontein, and Kimberley, rode the Rovos Rail Train through Paarl, Nelson Mandela Square, and took photos with the bronze six-metre tall statue. Arrived at the Mandela residence in Houghton, Johannesburg and followed singers in green and black uniforms to the gate to participate in the tributes and unity at it finest. It was as reverent and colorful as the 3-day celebrations I attended during the death of Rosa Parks, in Detroit, Michigan. Also, we toured the Robben Island Prison, the Apartied Museum, a stinky seal colony, the Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain, and the Lesedi Cultural Village. Experienced a safari, a naming ceremony and viewed the Wall of Names and Shrine to Freedom at the Freedom Park, which overlooks the Voortrekker Monument, and photographed vow renewals at the picturesque Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens with its Mambo sculptures.

Photos L to R: Entrance to the Robben Island Prison, Nelson Mandela’s 27-year jail cell, eating a Palm vegetable dish aboard the Rovos Rail, a bronze statue at Nelson Mandela Square, and signing the Condolences Book at the Nelson Mandela Gateway; where I wrote a special message. Kids representing unity, gifts and tributes left on the lawn at the Houghton, Johannesburg residence of Nelson Mandela! Out of the 7,000 photos, these are some of my favorites!

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