Today was my first full day in Durban, South Africa. I went on a tour of Durban. I saw an herb market, went to one of the largest harbors in Durban and one of the most beautiful beaches. I learned a little history about the beach, as it was a "white only" beach until about 10 years ago, and a lot here has changed since then.
We then visited a Muslim temple and I was able to understand the Muslim culture very clearly. Someone in the temple explained to us why the temple has no images of people inside. Before entering the temple, Muslims have to wash their hands, their feet, and their face. The temple is separated into two sections - one for the male and one for the female. About 5,000 people can pray here at a time (5 times a day). The man in the temple was very kind, as well, to explain why Muslims can have more than one wife.
We also visited a township called
Cato Township, which has a special history. It was land once owned by
the mayor of Durban. He subdivided it so Indians can live there, who
subdivided it so the Africans could also live there. It was one of the
only places where Africans and Indians were living together during Apartheid,
and in this community both African and
There are now over 95,000 people living in this township.
We walked for about half an hour, saying "sawubona," meaning "Hello" in Zulu, to people we don't know. They were very friendly people. In the township, we went to a shabeen where we ate dinner. We ate a traditional African dish and, as a part of African culture, we ate with our hands. Then the Africans performed a cultural dance for us.
For me, this was "deep." Knowing the history of the township is good and it's bad seeing the way they live. I can't tell them I understand how they are living but I have a certain level of understanding from living in the Caribbean. I can only write what I feel but for someone else to feel it they would have to see with their own eyes.
* Ed. Note: Eventually, the Apartheid government levelled the entire area and, with the fall of Apartheid, the Africans returned, turning it into a mass squatter's camp.
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