Cape Town Diary: August 24. By Brendan Ferriter, Bates College ’03
Story posted August 28, 2001
August 24, 2001
The other night I went to a popular restaurant called Mama Africa with two friends of mine. I had a feeling I wouldn't like it too much, due to the fact that it is geared towards tourists. When I walked into the restaurant, it was pretty evident the place was trying to project the "Africa" Westerners usually think of — lots of animal prints and figures, masks — even the bar was shaped like a snake. There were a lot of tourists, not surprisingly.
After our meal a band started to play, so we went over to watch them. At one point, one of the band members got up to collect money from the audience and this guy from the crowd got up behind the band member and draped himself over his shoulders. I felt like the guy from the crowd was buying into this mythic, exotic picture of Africa he had in his mind and playing out his fantasy too far — to the point where he no longer saw this band member as a person — he saw him as an amusement park ride. So, that night gave me a sick feeling in my stomach, but there have been good times too.
I've had a lot of fun doing community service in Langa. It actually doesn't seem like community service at all.
Community service seems to imply that we, as American students, are doing the Langa students a favor by hanging out with them. But it seems to me that they are doing the service for us — by inviting us into their community. I have enjoyed getting to know these students and learning about what they like to do and what music they listen to.
It must also be a thrill for them to meet students from America because it seems like many of them admire the United States. Some of the students seem particularly interested in American violence. One student had the impression that there were east coast and west coast rivalries going on in every city. He was wondering if there was anywhere in America that was a safe place to live. This is not to say every student in Langa believes this, but certainly most of them seem to be intrigued by American culture.
This trip was been filled with lots of ups and downs, given our hectic schedule. Some days are better than others. Everything seems to be happening so fast. Some days I just like to reflect about what's going on here. It's nice to have some time to think...
Brendan Ferriter, Bates College ’03
Additional information on the Cape Town program is at CBB Cape Town
Other Cape Town Diaries:
Cape Town Diary: July 3. By Julie McGee
Cape Town Diary: July 14. By Julie McGee
Cape Town Diary: July 27. By Kristen M. Heim
Cape Town Diary: July 27. By Rachel Meiklejohn
Cape Town Diary: August 6. By Paul Min
Cape Town Diary: August 6. By Heather Finn.
Cape Town Diary: August 10. By Chris Reigeluth.
Cape Town Diary: August 13. By Kathryn Spirer.
Cape Town Diary: August 15. By Philip Drake.
Cape Town Diary: August 20. By Dana Kramer.
Cape Town Diary: August 20. By Noah Lambie.
Cape Town Diary: August 27. By Laura Bilodeau
Cape Town Diary: August 27. By Katie Spirer.
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