In May I travelled to South Africa as a part of the International Scholar Laureate Program Delegation on International Relations and Diplomacy (it’s not nearly as pretentious as it sounds!). Thanks to the generous donations from family, friends and the Mount Barker District Council, a partial scholarship from ISLP and utilising the OS-HELP loan system I was able to pay tuition fees and air fares.
I spent two incredible weeks visiting universities and organisations working towards making South Africa a better place. The trip included a number of visits, including: the Apartheid Museum; Constitutional Court (at my suggestion); The Valley of 1000 Hills; the US embassy in Pretoria; the Afro-Middle East Centre; and ACCORD. When the main program was complete we travelled to Kruger National Park and spent two days on safari – which has been on my bucket list for ages!
I thought I’d share a few things I learned while on my journey:
- Australia is really behind in the equal rights movement.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since 1994 and no-one blinks an eye at it. We are twenty-two years behind South Africa in this area.
- Some people are over Nelson Mandela.
When we visited universities, we met students who claimed they were sick of the way that Mandela has been hailed as a messiah figure in media. At the end of the day, he was a very good politician who knew how to rally the people.
- In SA it is acceptable to use the terms black, white and coloured…
This felt really weird to hear on a regular basis.
- Durban is beautiful, but the beaches are covered in debris.
Litter is a big problem 😦
- Bunny chow does not contain actual bunnies.
It’s just a quirky name for a delicious curry-filled loaf of bread. Mmmm