Thursday 16th June
Today is Youth Day in South Africa! This is a national holiday and so there were lots of people about and this going on in Joburg. We were having a city tour. Joburg has its reputation, but I had a wonderful day and it's a very bright, colourful, lively place and you can visibly see the progression it's made.
|Joburg, you're beautiful|
Our first stop was a container shopping centre near the hostel. All the shops are made from recycled shipping containers. It was very colourful and full of quite niche shops. My favourite was a shop where everything was made out of recycled materials, like bottle top earrings, or bags made out of old packets.
Next was Constitutional Hill. This is somewhere I think everyone should learn about/visit if given the chance. It is a former prison that is now the highest court in the land. It's truly amazing how somewhere that used to be a centre for oppression, is not a centre for promoting and ensuring human rights. Everything represents something that recognises South Africa's future and learning from the past. The design was based around letting light through trees to represent light through dark, and transparency of court.
Freedom path at Constitutional Hill was one of my favourite bits. The entire path was made of the bricks that formerly made up the "awaiting trial cells." These were the old cells people who were lucky enough to get a trail had to stay in, for an undetermined amount of time. This path is open to anyone to freely walk to represent freedom and walking over oppression. The remaining bricks also line the court room, I suppose to act as a reminder of their meaning.
The whole place had an indescribable, but amazing, feel about it. It really highlights how progressive South Africa, and Johannesburg has been. The court is right next to Hillbrow' a suburb that, in the past, contributed a lot to Joburg's reputation as dangerous and full of crime. This placement of the court is quite symbolic of change and progression.
I really enjoyed Consitutional Hill and our guide, Bradley, was awesome in pointing things out and explaining them to us. I recommend a visit if you ever find yourself in Joburg as it was really eye-opening and beautiful.
Following this we went to a couple markets. We were lucky they were open because of Youth Day. They both had a great vibe, music and delicious smelling food. We had an amazing lunch from an African market stall, that was selling all vegan food of varying things from various parts of Africa. I don't even know everything that was in it but it was delicious.
In the second market, Maboneg, my favourite shop was called "I was shot in Joburg." Seems pretty dark but it's actually a lovely place. It's part of an outreach programme for children in Hillbrow where they are given cameras and told to take photos of Johannesburg "through their eyes". The photos are then developed by the shop and sold in a wide range of products, such as canvas', postcards, cushions and much more. 80% of the proceeds go to the child who took the photo. We went in and it's honestly one of the coolest shops I've ever been to, and the photos were all really cool.
We then went to the Hector Pieterson memorial museum. This is dedicated to Youth Day as a memorial. Youth Day remembers children who were shot by police because they were protesting having to learn in Afrikaans. The museum was really busy so we didn't go in, as we had only stopped their as it was Youth Day.
Our last stop for the day was Orlando Towers, to bungee jump. This is something that has been on my bucket list for a while and I knew I would hugely regret it if I didn't do it, so I went for it. I was terrified when I was at the top waiting to jump. The place itself is awesome; it's an old power station. One of the towers is decorated with paintings of people who were influential in bringing an end to Apartheid.
The jump was I N C R E D I B L E. Once you are secured, you just stand on a small ledge with your arms in front of you and throw yourself off. Like I said, I was so scared and shaking so much (those who know me, will know how much I shake at the best of times, let alone right before jumping off a power station). It really was awesome. The feeling of being thrown back into the air was awesome - definitely recommend it.
There are lots of Germans in the hostel so we ended the day going to a couple bars to watch the game. Everyone was really cool and I had a great time at the hostel.
|Container shopping centre|