I kept looking at the mosaic of interesting faces for signs, clues to help me categorize the people of this rich country. I wanted to know which physical features differentiated Afrikaners from blacks, whites, or coloureds. My untrained eye would pick out a face and my un-harnessed mouth would ask, “Is he a coloured? Is she an Afrikaner?” And, to my chagrin, I never once, got it right.
I saw a sign on a wall in a home which let me know that I was not the only one confused by this. It delighted me during dinner conversation to learn that, “today, we are all South Africans.”
Later in the week I went hiking on Table Mountain. I was busy packing selected images into memory storage, my visual file overloaded. Nature was screaming, “Look at me, remember this,” when a sign on a rock silenced me. I thought of the people of South Africa and the great depth of their richness. I recalled my brief and detached education of their history and struggle for equality. I embraced a keener awareness of their ongoing challenges, not all that different from my own country’s.
Next, we hiked the trail at Cape Point. We walked until we had to stop to catch our breath. We walked close to the edge of steep cliffs. I was grateful that it was not raining, the imagined slide down into the ocean or onto the rocks, nerve-wracking. As one afraid of heights, I had to focus on the horizon to avoid becoming dizzy. The path was bending and twisting around the most luscious vistas. And suddenly we reached the end, the farthest point at the Cape of Good Hope. Another sign. Could this be the destiny of our journey as brothers? In the end……………………
We won’t throw stones.