Posts Tagged With: ANC Centenary

Nelson Mandela Bay – weekend 5

WIN! a set of five x day passes (valued at R1000), complements of Kingfisher FM & Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism .

The day pass gives you access to a whole range of activities & discounts.  It is a fun & affordable way to travel Nelson Mandela Bay.

Answer this question in the comments section at the bottom of this post: ‘Where did the Tribe share a festival?’

Entries close on 4 October 2012, at midnight.

Winners announced on 5 October 2012 on Kingfisher FM’s Big Breakfast.

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LOCATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  It is 763 km east of Cape Town.

DATE VISITED: 28 – 30 September 2012 (Spring)

WHAT WE DROVE: A Jeep Cherokee complements of Maritime Motors

WHAT WE DID: We visited the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, the Prince Alfred’s Guard Drill Hall, The Campanile, No 7 Castle Hill, Settler’s Park & The Red Location Museum.  We also attended the Afri-Save Marathon & The Bird Street Bash on Trinder Square.

WHERE WE STAYED: The little house on the not so little hill

WHO GUIDED US: Craig Duffield from Mosaic Tourism

RECOMENDATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is the ultimate family destination.  There is a whole lot of history to be discovered.  This was our fifth weekend exploring our city – a tourist could easily spend a whole week experiencing new & interesting trips.  Come visit Nelson Mandela Bay!

WEBSITE: Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism

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How caught up we can become in busyness?

Entrapped, almost.

Not in life.

In work.

In worry.

Rushing from one thing to the next.

Never stopping.

Trying to achieve.

To obtain.

To survive.

Even our holidays, a rush to the next thing.

And then we stop.

To experience.

What we thought was familiar.

For 5 weekends in a row we’ve been traveling our own city.

Nelson Mandela Bay.

Beautiful she is.

Exquisite.

Breathless she left us as we discovered her to be more than we ever imagined.

Filled with a new optimism we come away from the experience.

We approached our last weekend with hesitation.

Would she have more to share with us?

More to awaken in us?

We walk through the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.

Stunningly creative.

Hear soldiers of centuries past practice discipline on the tidy space which is the Prince Alfred’s Guard Drill Hall.

We stand at the foot of the Campanile, beautifully kept, considering the remembrance of a previous generation.

1820 settlers.

That evening we walk the corridors & rooms of No 7 Castle Hill.

Another remembrance.

Of life as it was.

For a few.

A surgeon and his family.

Two children schooled at home.

The furniture.

The art.

The decor & amenities of 180 years ago.

Conserved.

A family who left their land of birth.

To begin again.

In a new place.

We think of our new global village.

Families beginning again in many places.

Far from home.

We wonder if, once left, home could ever be found again.

We smell the ordered beauty of Settler’s Park.

Learn of the trenches, once dug to protect a city against attack.

We sit in memory boxes.

Built from rust-red corrugated iron.

Empty boxes.

Remembering the many who sacrificed.

And we think to ourselves: governments have immense responsibility.

To govern.

On behalf.

So that freedom, justice, equality & fairness may prevail.

Perhaps the history of South Africa is not so unique?

Someone always trying to take control.

To own.

To use.

Perhaps the history of South Africa is unique?

A new nation born.

Peacefully.

Slowly.

Drenched in values.

Beyond the skin & eye which divide.

‘Divide & conquer’, the warrior believes.

Imagine what would be if undivided we embrace the shared values alive in our being.

Freedom.

Justice.

Equality.

Fairness.

Imagine a society, kind & gentle.

Not controlled.

Enabled.

To live.

To be.

To do.

Create.

In Nelson Mandela Bay you will meet this society.

This people.

As we are.

And will be.

Beating a new rhythm.

On new African Drums.

Here Govan Mbeki left his footprints.

Vuyisile Mini the marks of fingers on his world.

Uncle Ray.

Ernest Malgas.

Idealists.

Dreamers who believed anything was possible.

And it is.

Even now.

As we stumblingly find our way.

The ‘struggle’ which left such a deep impression on our being was never a struggle against.

We realize as we take time to spend inside the Red Location Museum.

It was a struggle for.

Freedom.

Equality.

Justice.

On Trinder Square, that place where colonists watered their horses almost two centuries ago, we share a festival.

It is being renewed.

Into an emotion filled space.

Filled with the optimism of this city’s people.

And so we are grateful.

For being allowed to meet her again.

In all her history.

In all her present.

To be courted by her.

Invited to dance.

Without inhibition.

And so we resolve – in her we’ll come to life.

Hopeful dreamers.

Like Mbeki & Mhlaba.

Believing, without a moment’s doubt, anything is possible.

And so we invite you to come share her awesomeness.

And be wowed!

 

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Nelson Mandela Bay – weekend 2

CONGRATULATIONS to Navadia Marnay & Lungile Mnukwa.  They each won a set of five x day passes (valued at R1000), complements of Kingfisher FM & Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism.

The day pass gives you access to a whole range of activities & discounts.  It is a fun & affordable way to travel Nelson Mandela Bay.

The next winners will be announced on Friday 21/09/2012 on Kingfisher FM’s Big Breakfast.

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LOCATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  It is 763 km east of Cape Town.

DATE VISITED: 7 & 8 September 2012 (Spring)

WHAT WE DROVE: A Jeep Grand Cherokee complements of Maritime Motors

WHAT WE DID: We went on a Township Tour on Friday afternoon & evening exploring the Red Location Precinct, Njoli Sqaure & Township life in general, meeting beautiful people along the way.  On Saturday we did the South End Museum Tour & then relaxed at The Willows Resort, enjoying their fabulous amenities for the rest of the weekend.

WHERE WE STAYED: The Willows Beach Resort

WHO GUIDED US: Craig Duffield from Mosaic Tourism

RECOMENDATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is the ultimate family destination.  This weekend was immensely interesting & with out a doubt I would recommend anyone to try and fit both activities into their itinerary.  For the township tour I would suggest utilizing an experienced guide who know the people & area.

WEBSITE: Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism

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This weekend was a weekend of contrasts.

It challenged us.

Made us think about who we are & where we are & what we do.

We were driving the very comfortable & very opulent Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Probably the most luxurious vehicle we’ve driven in a long-long time.

It’s powerful 3.6 Pentastar V6 engine smoothly accelerating everywhere.

The leather seats, climate control & cruise control with its ‘beyond imagination’-awareness, really being awe-inspiring.

We were staying at The Willows Beach Resort.

Right on the ocean.

The waves lulling you to sleep.

Becoming the rhythm as you wake up & drink coffee, surrounded by green lawns & well kept amenities.

More than comfortable family accommodation.

Private.

Inside the heart-beat of nature.

Open.

Staff always ready to answer your needs.

Fellow-guests friendly & happy.

Families.

Children enjoying the super-tube water-slide.

The putt-putt mini-golf.

The game center.

Relaxed lounging breakfasts at the warm restaurant.

Vervet Monkeys curiously watching from large green trees.

We were exploring history.

The drive to the tourism office, from where we took a bus to Port Elizabeth’s Main Train Station, was quick & comfortable.

The Willows is truly only a few minutes from the city.

An ideal spot, no matter what part of Nelson Mandela Bay you want to explore.

Then we took the train to New Brighton station.

New Brighton is our city’s oldest existing township.

Townships are part of our countries spacial history.

Predominantly inhabited by black people.

Supported by failing old infrastructure.

Set aside.

From the rest.

A reserve of sorts.

Where people have come to live & make a living & be.

Become, even.

Saturday we saw a glimpse of our country’s ‘relocation’-history.

Through the South End Museum.

Families ripped to pieces.

Away from friends.

Some times even away from relatives.

From community.

Losing.

All the way.

Not only them.

Everyone.

As we lose community.

Connection.

Coming to believe that we are different.

Which we aren’t.

For we all value the same things.

Relationship.

Hope.

Peace.

Growth.

Progress.

As we crossed the pedestrian bridge from the New Brighton Station to the Red Location precinct, our guide shoved white people to one side.

Blacks to another.

You must be separate.

And we walk on the one side of a barrier.

The white side.

As it was.

Before 1994.

Apartheid is a sad part of our history.

Even sadder than the concentration camps of the English War (1899 – 1902).

For the ones who were set aside.

Set aside.

Like a son who saw his father beating his mother.

To grow up.

To beat his wife.

So that his son & grandson could do it again.

That is probably the greatest grace & gift of Tata Nelson Mandela & the African National Congress.

Grace.

To be more.

To be different.

To embrace.

Include.

To a new future.

A new future is, however, not created in a moment.

18 years.

Since 1994.

A moment.

In comparison to almost a century.

Preceded by centuries.

On Friday evening we stop at Lafa & Mifa’s.

Its a butchery.

With a dining area & open fires.

You buy your meat at the butchery.

Then come to the dining area & cook it on the open fire.

A ‘braai’ (almost like ‘buy’, just with an ‘r’ in there) we call it.

All of us.

A large sign declares: ‘anytime is braai time’.

We are the same.

South Africans.

We love cooking outside on an open fire.

We love being together.

And so we talk.

To locals who come there regularly.

To families who love the community.

To people walking the streets.

Hoping the effort of fathers & grandfathers weren’t in vain.

And as we drive back in the luxury of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, to the comfort of The Willows Beach Resort, I wonder how this spacial heritage could be overcome.

For amidst the hardship of relocation a vibrant, energetic culture has come to life.

Perhaps it has always been there.

Perhaps it just did not die.

Despite everything.

Wasn’t quenched.

A beautiful resilience.

Hairdressers on the side of the street.

Mamma’s baking roosterkoek (bread baked on the open fire) for those who pass by on the way to work or home.

Children playing.

Herbs & chicken for sale.

Little bags of sweets.

Mini-bus taxi’s flying up and down the street.

Large municipal buses making their way in the late afternoon to homes, where people live.

Still set aside.

Its been decades.

The poverty of loss, more visible than ever.

As we savor that first morning coffee on Sunday morning, at The Willows, our weekend-neighbor walks over.

Sidwell.

He lives in Motherwell.

With his family.

His father’s family relocated there.

Decades ago.

We talk of life.

His children.

Mine.

We talk of a new future.

A hope.

Our children play.

Run off together to the water-slide.

Unaware that once we were separated.

We hope.

And as we say our goodbyes we agree that we need to intentionally move beyond the invisible boundaries created by a dark meaningless past.

On our behalf.

Without our consent.

And we agree that we are the same.

We desire freedom.

Equality.

Opportunity.

For our children.

Peace.

And I admit that I will need to intentionally redress the works of a previous generations hands.

For nothing changes by itself.

This is what travel does.

It challenges us.

And we become.

 

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Bloemfontein

Location: 680 kilometres from Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay in the Freestate Province, South Africa

Date Visited: 10 – 12  February 2012 (Summer)

Website: Bloemfontein

Where we Stayed: Emtonjeni Country Lodge

Where we visited:Cheetah Experience , War Memorial , Naval Hill, Waaihoek Wesleyan Church

Recomendation: Bloemfontein is an amazing city to visit, but it is not a weekend destination, not if you travel from Nelson Mandela Bay.  Because of the distance you need at least a long-weekend.  There are no direct flights from Nelson Mandela Bay to Bloemfontein on weekends and at this time a lot of infrastructure redevelopment is being done on th eroad between our two cities, extending traveling time consideraby.  We would however recomend you take time to spend here.  It is a city filled with surprises, drenched in history.

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I was surprised.

When I read about the ANC Centenary being celebrated in Bloemfontein.

I did not know it was in this city that the ANC had its origin.

Bloemfontein.

It does not bring to mind the pictures often conjured by names such as Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay or Africa.

South Africans know where this city is.

As they travel from Cape Town to Johannesburg, they often pass on its outskirts or stop there for a moment’s respite, before continuing their journey.

It is not regarded as a ‘holiday’ destination.

And it wasn’t for holiday that we made this journey.

There is a difference between ‘holidaying’ and ‘traveling’.

Traveling is about discovery.

Exploration.

It is about ‘becoming’.

More.

As we connect with people and places outside of our little bit of world.

We wanted to investigate, for ourselves, our country’s rich and diverse history.

Bloemfontein: the place where an obscure Wesleyan Church hides in the shadow of an Apartheid-era power station’s 3 cooling towers and the obelisk of a monument reaches to the sky to hide the shame of a president’s obstinacy.

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The University of the Freestate was kind enough to make a historian available to our tribe for this weekend-trip.

Not a young junior lecturer.

One of the members of their senior management who works in the Rector’s Office.

‘Our perspective influences what we deem important’, he says.  ‘If you read English history the war of 1899 – 1902 is insignificant and obscure.  In South Africa of the 1940’s and 1950’s it was elevated to a core moment in our country’s history.  And to us it probably was.  To the BaSotho the destruction of mission stations & the looting of schools & the redistribution of land wich preceded this war was probably more significant.’

Perspective.

Cooling towers of an intrusive power station are a more significant monument to some than an obelisk surrounded bemtionaly charged bronze statues.

On Saturday the historian takes us up Naval Hill from where we have a panoramic view of the city.

He shows us the Bloemfontein of 1854 & walks us through the arival of rail transport & poverty as people lose their jobs to industrialised new transport systems.  He shows us where a people lived & where they were moved too, like pieces on a chess board, or objects, when their homes needed to make space for a new power plant.

He shows us the Churches and schools of a city which really started out as an English setlement.

He shows us the trinity of power in juxtaposition to the memorial obelisk.

We look to the site of a refugee camp, later known as a ‘consentration camp’.

The ‘auswitz’ of Afrikaners.

Who did not learn from opresion & war & death.

Who replicated the atrocities visited upon them.

We drive to that memorial.

‘What motivated the errection of such a memorial’, I ask.

‘Guilt, perhaps’, he says.

It seems the war of 1899 – 1902 could’ve ended a few months after it was declared, in the summer of 1900 after the two capitals were siezed.

Imagine that.

There would’ve been no burnt earth.

No 27 000 women & children dead.

How different a future can be, if our leaders choose differently.

‘Was there a reason for this war’, my son enquires.

‘Is there ever a good reason for war’, the historian suggests.

The men who gathered in that little Wesleyan Church did not seek war.

They were teachers, ministers, lawyers – educated men who received exceptional training from french and english and german missionaries.

Informed men.

“Althoug, as a race, we possess the unique destinctionof being the first born sons of this great and beautiful continent; although as a race we can claim an ancestry more ancient than almost any round about us, yet as citizens of the glorious British Empire , we are the last born children … we must still be careful ever to seek out the way where wisdom (not mere sentiment or desire) leadeth … the bright path illumined by rightiousness and reason …”

Rev. John L. Dube

Principal of the Ohlange Native Industrial School.

He presents himself, with the acceptance of the presidency of the South African Natve National Congress, somewhat different than how he and his kind was presented by a history rewritten after 1948.

On Saturday afternoon we take a respite from the challenges to our mind.

We visit the Cheetah Experience.

We hold wild cats and fondle baby lion.

We are amazed by these resilient animals, perhaps the first inahbitants of our continent, now dependant on our kind’s grace for survival.

They have been slaughtered.

For that is what we do.

And then in gracious benevolence we conserve & rebuild.

And make attractions of what was once free.

‘We must breakfast together’, the historian insists.

And that we do.

And then we’re off to that Wesleyan Church.

We drive through the city’s historical section.

We see the old presidency.

Government buildings.

The court of apeals.

The deserted Church is overshadowed by that trinity of power.

Industrialization.

Imperialism.

Nationalism.

We drive through Batho.

We see the homes built in the 1920’s in stark contrast to the characterless boxes of apartheid and post-apartheid.

Praises eminate from churches on the corners of every street.

I wonder about the influence of Churches in our little bit of world.

I wonder what the Rev Dube would be preaching this morning.

No sentimentality.

No mere desire.

I wonder if we will be mature enough as a people to discover a different history.

Before lunch we start the journey home.

We travel past the magnificent Gariep Dam through deserted towns called ‘Hofmeyer’ and ‘Steynsburg’.

We stop for lunch in Cradock.

Home of the Cradock Four.

Who were assassinated.

Of whom Nelson Mandela said: ‘The death of these gallant freedom fighters marked a turning point in the history of our Struggle. No longer could the regime govern in the old way. They were the true heroes of the struggle.’

Everywhere our history is dark as the setting sun.

Yet, bright as the break of dawn.

If only we could see past ourselves.

Past the perceptions incubated in a misplaced social experiment.

It is dark when we reach our home.

Our stay at Emtonjeni Country Lodge was exquisite.  One of those undiscovered gems.  A country ‘hotel’ on the outskirts of  city.  Filled with beautiful original art, antique furniture and warm people.

Our journey through history was unsettling.

We’ve traveled 1360 kilometers.

We’ve discovered more than words can describe.

Perhaps we should travel more & holiday less.

Challenging ourselves.

Taking responsibility for a future which will unfold, regardless of our own prejudice.

Click HERE to Watch Our Family Video :-)

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