Cape Town Diary: August 27. By Katie Spirer, Colby College ’03.
Story posted August 28, 2001
It's been raining everyday for the past week, so despite our hopes that winter had passed, there still seems to be a few weeks left until spring truly begins. The highlight of my week was when my religion teacher's son came and spoke to our class. The class is "Religion in Africa," but instead of studying all of the different religions in Africa, we focus more on what it means to be African today, versus what it meant in the past, and what it will be in the future.
Our professor is a man from Zimbabwe who has lived all over the world, so his son came to speak to us about his life and what it was like growing up in rural Zimbabwe, New York City and Johannesburg. His son, "Mizchief" is a hip-hop artist (based in Jo'burg) who was in Cape Town for a performance at a University of Cape Town dorm. Unlike many hip-hop artists today, Mizchif does not sing about drugs, sex, or violence, but rather incorporates his life experiences as an African into his work. He sang a few songs for us — one was about the hardships of working in the mines, and the other was about his childhood. His theory is that he is a messenger and people throughout the world can benefit from learning about his experiences.
Laura Bilodeau and I tried to see him perform, but I had to leave before he came onstage. However, I was able to see other performances — music, dance, comedy — at "Cultural Day" (the event Mizchief was headlining), and it was a great experience. Saturday I went to "Mama Africa" for dinner (a touristy restaurant downtown which serves food from all over Africa). There was a live band playing traditional African music, and I tried a variety of exotic game including ostrich, kudu, springbok, and crocodile. While the atmosphere and food were great, it was clearly a tourist attraction catering to Europeans and Americans, which definitely took away from the experience.
It's hard to believe that in less than two weeks, we will be switching host families. While it will be nice to live closer to the CBB center (right now I'm the second farthest away), I'm definitely going to miss my host family. Right now I live with a young "colored" couple in a nice neighborhood called Diep River. [Note: Under apartheid, all South Africans were racially classified into one of three categories: white, black (African), or colored (of mixed decent). The colored category included major subgroups of Indians and Asians.]
I've been blown away by my host parents' generosity and how they really have let me into their home. Every night, even if I come home late, Lynne (my host mom) prepares dinner for me and sits with me while I eat. Then, we have rooibos tea and rusks (biscuits) for dessert. Every South African I've met so far loves rooibos, which is only found in South Africa and I was told that every American student ends up taking a big box of it home. Every weekend my host parents take me on an excursion in or around Cape Town, and through them I've been exposed to South African culture that I otherwise never would have experienced. While I will miss them a lot, I am looking forward to experiencing another family in a different part of Cape Town.
-Katie Spirer, Colby 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 24. By Brendan Ferriter.
Cape Town Diary: August 27. By Laura Bilodeau
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