In some parts of the tour around Township Langa had me feeling like I was in Wichita, Kansas. I felt like I could walk around the block to my granny’s house. During the tour a Caucasian lady joined our group and was taking picture non-stop. My thought was this damn white lady all you have to do is go to the Detroit or Wichita to see this you don’t have to travel across the world. You are taking a bunch of pictures just to say you were here in Africa. This is in the U.S as well.
It was interesting learning about the becoming a man tradition and how when a boy turns 18 he will go to the bush to be circumcised. It was interesting to learn the cost that the parents to have pay to have that done for their son. The celebrations of sending the boys off into the bush and that the celebration continues when they come back from the bush. I loved that the tradition remains even in this day in age.
But in parts of the tour it was a culture shock to me. The informal settlements families were living in were not the best condition for a person to live in. But that’s the norm in Cape Town for many families. They make their home and make the best out of it. There may have been five people living in 1 bedroom (open space). But that’s the norm out there and I had to check myself. What I did see that I liked was no matter the settlement people were proud and there was a strong sense of community. It was a lot to take in because I definitely did not grow up having a lot in American standards but I cannot continue to feel that way after seeing how these families continue to make it. How they find a way to live. I found myself frustrated that proper housing that was promised to the people never happened. It was not feasible. The Mandela party should have not promise something they could not deliver.
During the homestays I felt stares from the community but I feel like it was because of the big group we as a class traveled in. But in a sense I felt okay because I fit in as a colored person. Again first time I am the one fitting into a situation but still very anxious about being in an unfamiliar place. My host mother asked me if I spoke Africans of Xhosa because she said I look like I can. I loved the acceptance. She showed such great love and gratitude that we were there. Her family felt like my family. We talked about anything and everything. I wish we had a few more days in the homestay so I could get to know them better. Even though I was in a community that made me anxious I felt safe and I felt home. Being with my host mother I felt like nothing would happen to me.