“It feels like home to me“
Home has so many meanings, so many connotations. I’ve been here in Stellenbosch for only one week — one week and about 8.5 hours. I feel like this place, in that amount of time, has become a home of sorts. Sometimes I think it has been too easy to adapt, like it must be too similar to my American homes if I am not challenged with adaptation here. I question whether Ghana or Morocco would have been more exotic, more foreign. Then I find myself looking for the even more subtle differences between this culture and my own, and it makes for great critical thinking… and even better fodder for my writing.
These basketball players from Kayamandi High School are here talking to us, and their accents are so thick, so beautiful. His english is purposeful, but competent – beyond competent. His smile is unending.
The room explodes into applause and laughter at each thing the boys say. There’s a hum about the room — an excitement. That is the Africa we’re all looking for, the experience we wanted — the black, native, culturally different in explicit ways.
The University, any University, is a community of (typically – demographically speaking) upper-class, typically white people.
So maybe studying somewhere isn’t what I’m looking for. I’m looking for the culture outside the University. I’m familiar with University settings. Here, though, it feels like i’m at the freaking epicenter of this country’s wealthy. In the states, university is not just common, it’s expected. That’s not to say it’s perfect or all-inclusive; there most certainly isn’t enough access to it even there, but here – it’s special. There’s an air here of understanding the privilege of being in school. It’s not humbling – it’s understanding truth.
It is my goal to find ways to step outside the university setting. I want to experience the diversity in cultures here, the beauty of the differences in people, in lives. I want to walk away from this experience knowing Stellenbosch… not just Stellenbosch University.
On my list of Wants:
- I want to visit the Oprah school
- I want to see the Zulu tribes. I want to meet the people, not just see stuff on safari.
- I want to, in general, see Kwazulu-Natal