Day 4 - We went to the Apartheid Museum and to the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum in one day, and we were totally unprepared for the emotional turmoil that would transpire at these locations. We had about 45 minutes to make it through the Apartheid museum and we didn't have enough time to go through all the information.
The museum was beautifully built, but there was a lingering coldness that came with the red bricks that lined the walls, and the pictures that were hanging on metal cages, representing South African's tortuous struggle. As we went through the museum quickly in an effort to make it all the way through, we eventually heard Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's voice permeating the room. Afterwards, we had to suddenly come to a halt after we were confronted with a room filled with nooses. 131 Nooses lined the ceiling. Instantly, I thought of the lynchings of Black men in America, but these nooses represented the people whom opposed the South African government--they were hanged due their disobedience of the state terrorism laws, the tactics were the same but the location was different. We had never experienced anything like this before or felt the kind of anguish that came with the vivid display of 131 nooses.
Even though we were running low on time, we slowly walked into the next room which had three life-sized screens showing video footage of the mass murder of protestors. Whether we turned our head to the left or to the right, we were overtaken by the footage of people frantically running, tear gas filling the screen, shootings, screams, blood and gore, and people of all ages were experiencing tremendous pain. It seemed like a bad movie that we had become a part of--although my heart was aching because this was not a reenacted movie, but instead it was real footage.
People were running for their life, some were injured, some were being carried away, others were lying on the ground, dead. It was as if our bodies had become motionless, and became lost in a timeless time. My heart was racing and we just couldn't take our eyes off the horror of apartheid. Our bodies were frozen but my mind was restless: I felt like I was one of those people running. Then I thought, how could this happen? What happened to the people whom so easily killed others, just because they wanted their basic human rights? Were they walking around free? As tears streamed down my face, I felt that change must start with me and I must work to insure that the greatest tragedies in our society, including slavery, lynchings, colonialism, and apartheid should never, ever happen again.
So by starting this blog is my way of informing people around the world that tragedies like this must never happen again. Ultimately, we must remember the 131 nooses and when our minds come to this we must ask ourselves, what are we doing to eradicate hatred and ignorance.
Tiffany & Kennard
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