Blacks and Coloureds were required to carry passports at all times. This apartheid regulation was an internal passport system that restricted Blacks and Coloureds from leaving the township; whenever they left the township, they had to have this in hand. If asked to show a passport, and one did not have it with them, that individual would be arrested and sometimes never seen again. Our tour guide Melisizwe Lugulwona explained to us that in mornings on the way to work, thousands of people from the townships stood in lines to show their passes before getting on buses and trains to commute to work. Lines could take up to 3 hours or more. This process was repeated on the return home. This phenomenon marked the beginning of the deterioration of the family. Mothers and fathers who were headed to work had to leave home at 3 and 4am to get to work by 7am, and not return home until 8pm or later. Children were therefore at home alone and raising themselves. Parents had no time to prepare breakfast, dinner, help with homework, do housework, or raise a family.
by Thais Moore
This place is absolutely breathtaking and at the same time horridly depressing. The mountains, the coast, the landscape and greenery, including the people all make up some of God’s best creations. Unfortunately, though, apartheid’s mark is still evident. On Tuesday, the students and staff broke up into groups and did volunteer work at day cares, schools, community centers, and churches. Our group visited a township. I’m literally speechless. I seriously can’t describe it. Yes, I’ve seen pictures before, but to step into someone’s home within the township was quite different.
Everywhere we go, officials, store keepers, university staff, guest lecturers, waitresses are telling us to be very aware of your surroundings–that we can get mugged or robbed or stabbed at any point. As beautiful as the neighborhoods are, one cannot see any of the homes. ALL the homes are surrounded by high brick walls or medal bars, and most have either very sharp spikes at the top or electric wires. I have yet to see a front yard!
Tomorrow, the students and staff will travel out to Robben Island where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Here we are below at the train station on our way to Simon’s Town.