Democracy, reconciliation, diversity, responsibility, respect, and freedom are powerful and meaningful words to the people of South Africa. These words stood proudly on the pillars that rest in front of the Apartheid museum in South Africa. Apartheid lasted for a number of years in South Africa. Segregation was the main tenet of apartheid. The inside of the museum showed the struggle of non-white people, and led me on a journey beginning with that segregation.
Upon entering the museum we were all randomly given cards that would either identify the tourists as white or a non-white. I was given a white identification card. This card determined that I would enter through the “white” entrance and be treated as a white woman during my entire stay at the museum. It was very difficult to absorb everything that the museum attempted to expose me to. The dark images, sounds and atmosphere truly gave me much insight to the atmosphere present during that era of struggle. The most grueling exhibit in the entire museum was a room that was full of ropes hanging from the ceiling that were used for hanging non-whites and whites who were against apartheid.
It hurt my heart to see how cruel and unruly the supremacy party behaved toward innocent people during that time. It was also very interesting to observe how in some ways apartheid is similar to the civil rights battles African-Americans faced in America. Dwelling on these two events that caused death to run so rampant on a particular race dares me to question what truly caused whites in both cases to feel superior over those who were not a part of their race – a question that I believe does not have a justified answer. Democracy, reconciliation, diversity, responsibility, respect, and freedom are what South Africans bravely live by despite their forced subservience at the time of their short-lived defeat. Their approach to life is seemingly and unconventionally beautiful.
Kadrien Wilson ’16 – Elementary Education Major, Bennett College