Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cultural Things

I’m really excited about this post because it’s all cultural stuff! And I haven’t talked about that in a while…

So this past weekend I went to a very South African concert…Johnny Clegg! The family I live with bought tickets to celebrate Glenn (dad) and Nicole’s (daughter) birthdays, and were so gracious to take me along.
The Johnny Clegg concert was such a great experience – such a great South African experience! Johnny Clegg bio, also known as the white Xulu, is a South African singer who in the 1970s and 1980s, began singing and performing with Xulus. In South Africa, the two main black cultures are Xulu and Xhosa. And during apartheid, whites and blacks really did not mix at all. So the fact that this guy started living with, singing with, and performing with black people was a radical thing! He even learned a lot of the Xulu dances. And this is what I got to hear and see this past Saturday.  

It really was such a neat thing to see and hear. Seeing so many different people at the concert (whites and blacks), hearing the songs that talk about apartheid, as well as, such pride in Africa – it was really moving and inspiring. Someone mentioned the other day that Americans love the struggle; they love hearing about apartheid and people who fought and how it came to an end. At first I wanted to be defensive (I think mostly because it was a generalization about Americans), but then I thought about it – yeah, we do like the struggle. That’s why we love talking about, learning about the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the World Wars. And I think it’s a good thing. Learning from history, especially the darker parts and how they turned into the brighter parts, is really important. It’s important to learn, but it’s also important to just be inspired. Inspired so we can do something now, in our time. 
(Note: I've tried to upload videos from the concert so you can hear his music and see the Xulu dances, but I don't think the internet is "strong" enough here. Sigh. I'll keep trying, but in the mean time, you can hear clips here.) 

The last thing I want to say here is that tomorrow is another public holiday! (Surprised, huh?) It’s Youth Day. I’m celebrating by going on a bike tour of Soweto – a very historical part of Johannesburg. Here’s a short blurb about Youth Day. How will you celebrate? ;)

In 1975 protests started in African schools after a directive from the previous Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as a language of instruction in secondary schools. The issue was the whole system of Bantu education which was characterised by separate schools and universities, poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers. On 16 June 1976 more than 20 000 pupils from Soweto began a protest march. In the wake of clashes with the police, and the violence that ensued during the next few weeks, approximately 700 hundred people, many of them youths, were killed and property destroyed*.
Youth Day commemorates these events.

1 comment:

  1. You get to go to Soweto! So amazing and humbling. I hope you had a great bike ride and got to see a lot. We learned all about Youth Day as well when we were there. Love your posts, keep them up! love, Katelynn


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