Wine Vineyard / Motorcycle Diaries: South Africa

Hey Mr. Omari... Tell me where you been? I've been around the world but I'll be back again....

The good ol wine vineyard. At first it seems amazing... The grass is kept up, the bushes are trimmed to perfection, and the sites are great. Then suddenly, a student who is with us from UWC and considered of the colored class, asks a waiter in the restaurant if they serve beer. The waiter's, and Africaan man of the Boers responds.... Are you fucking mad? We are the only vineyard in South Africa that has two wines on the world's top 100 list. The wine producer will circumcise you if he knew you were asking for wine.... Mind you, the Boers are the whites, of the upper class. And they do make it extremely obvious that they do NOT deal with coloreds or blacks, and he responded in an extremely demeaning tone. Let's keep in mind that on this tour we have... 6 graduates students, 2 professors, and 8 undergraduate students... And this white man is a.... WAITER!!!!!!! I will not apologize if anyone reading is a waiter, because my mom was a waitress for 25 years and raised a respectable household. I'll let you figure out the rest. This was my first encounter with the blatant aftermath of Apartheid in South Africa.

Our work for the 1st two weeks will be at a museum known as Lwandle Migrant Workers Museum in Lwandle. It falls about an hour away from Cape Town. Our job will be to put together their next exhibit... It will be on the textiles that the community makes for a living. Then a group will put together a website and marketing strategies to keep the community engaged. The last will put together a system to archive things that have been donated by the community... A few things arise here. How can we make a community museum represent the community constantly? The problem here is how do we define the community that is to represented. And here's why this is the problem... The Lwandle community, as with most if not all in South Africa, have been created by and due to Apartheid, so then if we have a museum that is for the Lwandle community we are working within the constraints, boundaries, and oppression of Apartheid? Do you follow? This is a universal issue and a recurring theme here in SA. The education system poses the same question. Our goal in the LONG run is to create a different education system, a different museum that represents a different community from that which is the aftermath of oppression. I guess I'll leave this subject for now, as I know it will be revisited.

A conversation with a girl who decided to ride with us to the wine vineyard from Lwandle was an intriguing and enlightening conversation for her and us. We came to the agreement that we are being bamboozled here and in the US alike. We are being told half of a story. She told us that she expected us to be wearing 'bling bling and sagging pants'. We agreed that what we get from television tells us a certain story and we create a vision of Africa as they create a vision of the US. (if you haven't noticed I deliberated do NOT use 'America' when referring to the US). National Geographic Magazine is poison. It is the most popular magazine for households who have children in the US (source forgotten, 'knowledge and power course, glos 3014). And how many of those children read the stories? Not many, they look at the pictures and see half naked people in Africa and think that's what people in Africa dress like. But we can't blame the children for this, can we?

On to some lighter things... The weather here is COLD! At night we're bundled and today it was cloudy so we wore long sleeves and sweaters. It's unfortunate. If I haven't told you I'm in Cape Town for the first 4 weeks. :) That's it for today. I'm sure I'll have some more for you tomorrow.

Signing off...

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