Mr. Ledger is dead. How sad and unfortunate and terrible. I keep trying to post pictures in here, but for some reason the site won’t let me. That upsets me. This Heath thing also upsets me. Then I was bothered that I was so bothered about his death… but when I thought about it more, I realized that I’m upset because his death is like an age marker, a marker of growing up. He’s essentially the first big name, well known figure of my generation to die. When we live in a place where celebrity is so… well, celebrated, when one of our icons dies, we all feel it.

RIP Heath. I’ll miss your boyish good looks and sexy accent.


Back to Africa.

We had a mini lecture the other day, during orientation, on Africa… some of its history (specifically South Africa). I loved every second. I sat in rapt attention, not wanting to even blink. The professor, a young woman with an almost tangible passion in her voice, who had this entire vibe about her… of just being so excited to inform us, to inform each of us international students, about her personal history and the history of her people.

Here’s a run-down of some of my notes:

30-40% of south africans are unemployed

1 in 5 South africans are HIV positive

48% of South Africans live below the international poverty line.. which means they make less than $2/day. (did anyone else notice that the international standard is in dollars? I just wish we could use our hegemonic power for good purposes…)
“think about how much you spend on beer in a night to put it in perspective.” it’s true. and south africans party a LOT.

…so many similarities between American segregation/Civil Rights and South African apartheid

National sports: cricket, soccer, rugby
SA (South Africa) won World Rugby Cup in 2006(7?)

Jacob Zuma going to be next South African president in 2009. They know because of how their system works. He is a polygamist, has been acquitted on rape charges, and is a chauvenistic pig… to put it bluntly. Scholars/politicians/activists are concerned about women’s rights while he’s in power. Can they even sustain what they have now?
“If you think George Bush is bad, you haven’t heard enough about Zuma. He may single-handedly destroy every bit of progress women and blacks/coloureds have made over the past 14 years.”

There is a huge difference between blacks and coloreds –> one that i still can’t explain…

When it comes to SA racial issues compared to American racial issues…
“I think in the US there’s this perception of – ‘we’re past that – we don’t need to talk about this; and I think that’s a problem. In South Africa, we’re talking about it; we know people are racist, and I think it’s helping us move ahead.”

There are fewer black students at Stellenbosch than international students.  —> This breaks my heart. I had goose bumps and tears in my eyes when she made this comment. In a country where blacks and coloreds outnumber whites 78% to 12%, (possibly more by now), the fact that there is such an unevent representation at the University level shows the negative impact of apartheid on the colored/native communities. Education, especially at the University level, is marked so much by wealth and privilege, and the fact that that is STILL a trademark of a WHITE population… is upsetting. When is the SA government, the US government going to try to really rectify these problems? Balance these numbers? Make education something that is accessible to EVERY individual and not just the privileged ones?


And on a fun note….

“Don’t drink, but enjoy the wine.”
-Sisesko, the director of housing (I think that’s his title)

“You will find at Stellenbosch that Wednesday is a practice round for Saturday.”
-House Warden for Academia/Concordia (where I live)

Life is amazing. It’s beautiful here. i’m getting tanned. We did a tour of Cape Town and it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.

I’ve taken over 500 pictures, and they’re coming your way soon!!

Thanks for tuning in, and I love the responses/questions. Keep ’em coming!


Published in: on January 29, 2008 at 10:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

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