Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Some South African History

"Where were you on June 16, 1976?"  I've learned while in South Africa that this question is as meaningful as "where were you when President Kennedy was shot?  Or when the second plane crashed into the second tower?" The date was the beginning of the journey South Africans took towards the end to Apartheid.  A young 13 year old boy, Hector Pieterson, was shot and killed during a peaceful demonstration in Soweto, which marked the beginning of a new day.....that culminated in the election of Nelson Mandela as President in 1994. 

Mortally wounded Hector Pieterson being carried by bystander while his sister screams and prays 

This past weekend we were immersed in South African history by visiting three museums; the Hector Pieterson museum in Soweto, the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill (the site of the notorious Block 4 prison and the current hall of Justice and Constitution).  The art of form and the art of storytelling joined together in each setting to paint the picture of a country damaged by segregation and deprivation to one of hope and opportunity for the future.  The journey to this end is far from being completed, but the steps toward respect, dignity, unity and cohesion are being made each day, step by step, one person at a time. 

It is an honor to witness this in on a very small scale. It is heartening to see Hospice Wits make great strides in being a part of this journey in healing, incorporating the values that all hospices hold dear: choice, dignity, respect, advocacy and honesty.   
Susan Bruno  

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