TTS22 Group photo

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Leadership & Mandela Day

(student TJ article)

Nelson Mandela throughout the ages
By the end of the day, we had gained insight into Mandela's life and what it means to be a leader. Although Mandela worked to end apartheid, we experienced a representation of apartheid today, and most girls were struck by the moment we shared with seven boys who live in Africa. This real experience compared to the pictures we saw at the Nelson Mandela Museum and allowed us to have a background on what is happening in Africa today, which still includes discrimination between white and black people.

On our way to Mvezo, the birth place of Mandela, our truck (Big Blue) was buzzing with discussions on leadership. Each girl shared two people in her life whom she looks up to and admires as a personal mentor. Before we arrived in Mvezo, our truck pulled off of the road near the Mbashe River, where Mandela swam during his childhood. Here we found shade and set up chairs where we sat and discussed Mandela's eight lessons of leadership. At this time near the river, a group of seven boys who were close to our age approached us. The boy who spoke English told us they go to Nelson Mandela School and love swimming in the river. We learned a few Xhosa words and a little Xhosa culture when we noticed thin ropes tied around the waists of some of the boys and soon learned they were ropes provided by a traditional healer to keep evil away. Our conversation with the group was across a barbed wire fence separating TTS girls from the seven boys, since they were on land beyond the road. The represented the racial divide between whites and blacks, poor and wealthy, and great language barriers. Symbolizing apartheid and the separation between races in Africa, the fence breaking us apart from the boys showed how Mandela ended apartheid yet it still exists today.

rock rondaval with thatched roof
We came upon rondavals (circular huts), that are undergoing construction to become another Mandela Museum. Currently, fifty Xhosa people are training for jobs in the buildings. We had the opportunity to talk with the people and freely ask any questions we were curious about. A group of women taught greetings in Xhosa which were useful in starting conversations and taught us about a similar culture the boy who talked in English spoke of, but from an older perspective.

Another short ride on paved and gravel roads brought us to the Nelson Mandela Museum and a pile of wood to show where the school, Mandela attended, stood. The museum was full of knowledge on Mandela's life and his participation in ending apartheid. Sylvia added, “I loved how in the Mandela Museum, they talked about a lot of other people.” “It embodied Mandela's selflessness.”, Anne confirmed. Down a steep hill from the museum was Mandela's sliding rock. This is where he and his friends would sit and slide down the smooth surfaced rock, catching speed near the end. Laughter filled the air as each of us scooted down the rock with only our feet to stop us!
Mandela's boyhood church

BY: EMILEE, Bozeman, MT, sophomore


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