Day 9: June 8: Retracing Apartheid History

Posted by on Jul 7, 2012 in Satyagraha Tour South Africa 2019 | 0 comments

Today we will visit the Apartheid Museum and Soweto to learn some more about South Africa’s struggle for freedom from racial injustice.  

Apartheid MuseumThe Apartheid Museum illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid.  To understand what apartheid South Africa was like a visit to this museum is an important stop.  The museum shows how South Africa came to terms with its oppressive past and works towards a future that all South Africans call their own.  

From there, we will visit the Hector Pieterson Museum, in Soweto, two blocks away from where Hector Pieterson was shot and killed. The museum is named in his honor.

220px-Soweto_townshipOur next stop is Soweto an urban area of the city Johannesburg. The area is mostly composed of old “matchbox” houses, or four-room houses built by the government, that were built to provide cheap accommodation for black workers during apartheid.  Steve Biko and the BCM played a significant role in organizing protests which culminated in the Soweto Uprising June 16, 1976.  Nelson Mandela lived in Soweto (South Western Township) for many years.   We will have lunch in Soweto before we travel back to Johannesburg.

We will return to Johannesburg via Gandhi Square where there is a statute of young Gandhi in downtown Johannesburg, close to where Bapu had his offices and the site of the original law courts.  At one point Gandhi also lived for a time behind his law office.  Gandhi used to patronize this early Johannesburg restaurant located in central Johannesburg, close to Gandhi’s’ office called Alexandra Tea Room. 

We will see the Hamidia Mosque the site of the first act of Gandhi’s Satyagraha campaign.  The burning of registration certificates in mass by 3000 Muslims, Hindus and Christians in resistance to the requirement that all Asian’s carry identity certificates.  

ch prison

Our next visit is Constitution Hill, the current house of parliament and Johannesburg’s Old Fort Prison, a jail where Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were both held. Also commonly known as Number Four, where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy in 1994.  

We then will meet the organizers of Graca Machel Trust and visit the property site for their new hospital project Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. 

Mandela-Graca-Machel-2-300x203“The Graça Machel Trust is a platform to embrace, nurture, enable and inspire women and children to soar to the fullest of their potential. It consolidates the work of its founder, Mrs Graça Machel and seeks to build her legacy, empower new generations to take up the challenges of their times and create caring societies that value social justice. Leveraging her access to key national, regional and global networks and champions, the Trust amplifies the voices of those who otherwise might not be heard in certain spaces.” Graça Machel

 Arun Gandhi was honored by and accepted an invitation from former South Africa First Lady Mrs. Graca Machel to lend his support to Nelson Mandela’s final and perhaps most desired legacy, a better health and medical care for the children of Africa.  

After our meeting, we will visit a companion museum to the Hector Pieterson Museum nearby is Mandela House, the former home of Nelson Mandela and his family, which has been run as a museum since 1997.  From there we will drive pass the homes of Nobel Peace Prize winners Former President Nelson Manadela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

We will be meeting with leaders from the Steve Biko Foundation, a community development organization inspired by the legacy of Bantu Stephen Biko. 

“Black is Beautiful”

00 biko 1Steve Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s.  He was born in East Cape Town, a medical student who became active in apartheid in 1960 when he was studying medicine.  He founded the Black Consciousness Movement which empowered and mobilized much of the urban black population. Biko was arrested on Aug 18, 1977 in Cape Town.  He died in police custody September 12, 1977, in Pretoria, South Africa. 

Steve Biko 1945 – 1964 The Early Years

 A beautiful quote from the Early Years presentation: “At the heart of the Black Consciousness Movement is the realization by blacks that the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.  If one is free at heart, no man-made chains can bind one to servitude but if one’s mind is so manipulated and controlled by the oppressor then there will be nothing the oppressed can do to scare his powerful masters.”  Steve Biko, I Write What I Like

Peter Gabriel’s Tribute to Steve Biko: The Protest  

Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner, 

Dinner at the highly-rated Indian restaurant in Johannesburg called Swad