Finding the Sun

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A highlight of my experience has been visiting townships. The one pictured is Langa, which means sun. The entire phrase “iKhaya le Langa” means house of sun. Townships are what we would refer to as ghetto’s or “the hood” in the United States. When Black people were evicted from their properties and forced to move into segregated townships. They were gridlocked to these neighborhoods, and could only leave if they had what was called a “dompas”. A dompas literally means dumb pass. You needed to have this with you at all times if you planned to travel outside of the area that the government designated for you.

The people of this community were beautiful. We were able to go into one of the houses and see how they lived. Walking in the house, there was an older woman and a younger woman with a big bowl of soapy water washing dishes. There was no electricity, only a very small candle. Then, we moved into a bedroom. It was a very small room with three twin sized beds at each corner. There was not much standing room. Above the beds, there were suitcases and other miscellaneous things`. The man whose room it was, said that three families (about 10 people) live in that one room. They do not know each other, they just simply share that one room. Being in his room, made me realize how fortunate I was and how big the world is. He was so happy and full of life, it was truly admirable. We got to interact with the children. They ran around the neighborhood so freely and full of smile toward us. Some of them would ask the girls who had a purse if they had money. This made me sad because they were only about five or six years old, already begging for money. It made me wonder where they picked up the language and behavior from.