Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 2: Soweto and Johannesburg

Today I took a wonderful tour of Soweto and Johannesburg. From the resort, we passed a huge "dry harbor" with miles of containers like these (above).

This is the stadium built for the soccer World Cup:

And then we were in Soweto, a historic township that is home to many black South Africans:

Nelson Mandela and his family lived in this Soweto home:

Bullet holes in the Mandela family's home:

Under this tree in Mandela's yard are buried the umbilical cords of his children (the guide told us that this is an African tradition):

Lots of artistic touches everywhere:

Behind this wall, Archbishop Desmond Tuto lived in a house, not open to the public, and not far from Mandela's house:

This is a memorial to all those who died in the June 1976 Soweto uprising. About 600 people died, and thousands were detained after protesting the mandate that Africaans be the only language used in schools.

The uprising was pivotal in the fight against apartheid. Hector Peterson (the boy being carried in this photo) was one of the many children killed that day:

Mario, our guide, was fabulous. He speaks 15 languages!

Another soccer stadium!

Don't the cement roofs on these homes look like they are mimicking thatch?

Johannesburg town hall:

Next, we visited Constitution Hill and it's old fort and prison.

A few cells remain, including one where Mandela was held for a time:

Door to the Constitutional Court:

Beautiful art inside the Constitutional Court:

Yellow wood tree:

Courtyard in part of the old fort and prison on Constitution Hill:

Leaving downtown Johannesburg:

Tomorrow is the start of International Quilt Convention - Africa!
Please note: the photos in this post are a bit fuzzy because of the program I used to upload my blog post from my iPad. You can click on each photo for a clearer view. 
On Tuesday, I left home, and today, Thursday morning, I am waking up in South Africa. That should give you some idea of how long my flight was (about 18 hours from Washington, D.C.). In the Johannesburg airport, we were greeted by this amazing beaded elephant:

Then escorted by the organizers of International Quilt Convention - Africa to the Emperor's Palace, a huge resort complex and casino. Here are some photos of the area that contains many restaurants and the casino:

Yes, believe it or not, there is a Hooters here.

It was decorated with snow and ice because it is winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. The temperatures are expected to range from the high 30s to the low 70s (F), which I am loving after the very high temps in North Carolina lately.

This shot, taken from my room, shows just how close we are to the airport. But I slept great; didn't hear a thing!

Today we are recovering from jet lag and setting up for classes and the start of IQC - Africa tomorrow.