This evening I have been thinking of South Africa.
When I heard the news of Nelson Mandela’s death this afternoon, I started to have memories of my trip there in 2001. I don’t often think of this trip as I unconsciously suppress memories of the trip home on September 11, 2001.
South Africa was a country of contrasts. In some areas you would have beautiful homes that must have cost a fortune and not far away you would have slums or shanty towns.
I have seen slums and encampments in other parts of the world, but not the vast difference between the homes of the wealthy and poor in such close proximity.
When I was in South Africa Nelson Mandela was in the news as he had recently had surgery for prostate cancer. There were many stories about his life in the papers at that time. I had also read several books about the history of South Africa, including The Covenant by James Michener.
I am also thinking now of how South Africa was viewed when I was growing up. This was long before the end of Apartheid and when Mandela was a prisoner on Robben Island and at Pollsmoor.
I also remember the sanctions that were placed on the sports teams from South Africa. I am sure many of you remember Zola Budd, especially in the 1984 Olympics.
I also remember the beautiful colors of South Africa. I will share two pictures that represent this.
I remember the moment I saw these colorful beach huts at False Bay. The colors caught my attention and we had to stop and take a picture. I wish I had a better picture. This was in the early days of digital. I had a film camera along and took a picture, but unfortunately the camera had a malfunction where the aperture didn’t fully close and all my film was overexposed. Luckily I took pictures with both cameras.
Here is Fish on the Rocks at Hout Bay. I really like the colorful building with the great background of Table Mountain. The Fish ‘n Chips that I had from Fish on the Rocks were some of the best that I have ever had.
My mind has wandered in a few different directions as I have written this, but will bring the focus back to Nelson Mandela.
Today marks the death of a man who will be long remembered for his role in the history of South Africa and in the fight for racial equality.