Weekend #1

My first weekend back in Cape Town was pretty low key but still rather enjoyable. After work on Friday, I hung around the museum for the Cape Cultural Collective’s monthly music and poetry gathering. Because today (May 25) is “Africa Day,” in celebration of the formation of the African Union, the theme for the performance was “Africa Alive!” Various artists and poets from around the region filled the museum hall with lively, energetic music and beautiful and insightful verses. The packed house clapped and danced along, and everyone in attendance (including myself) enjoyed the evening. When I hear the vibrancy of African music, it makes me sMy first weekend back in Cape Town was pretty low key but still rather enjoyable. After work on Friday, I hung around the museum for the Cape Cultural Collective’s monthly music and poetry gathering. Because today (May 25) is “Africa Day,” in celebration of the formation of the African Union, the theme for the performance was “Africa Alive!” Various artists and poets from around the region filled the museum hall with lively, energetic music and beautiful and insightful verses. The packed house clapped and danced along, and everyone in attendance (including myself) enjoyed the evening. When I hear the vibrancy of African music, it makes me so upset that many South African youth dismiss their traditional (and high quality) music in favor of imported American rap, R&B, and hip-hop.

After sleeping in on Saturday morning, I went with some of the other students living in my house to climb Lion’s Head, one of the mountains opposite Table Mountain. It was an incredible experience, especially since I did not have the chance to do it last summer. As we made our way to the top, we were afforded stunning views of the City Bowl and the shoreline. Although it was a bit cloudy outside, it was still an enjoyable experience. At the top, we met a South African guy who we visited with on the way down. It was interesting just to talk to him about his life experiences and hear his opinions about the country and its direction. I did, however, get the impression that, because he lives in a well-to-do seaside suburb, he was a bit out of touch with the Cape Flats area, where most of the poorer Capetonians reside. Later on Saturday, we headed to Long Street for dinner and music at Mama Africa’s, one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

Sunday was a bit of a lazy day. Earlier in the week I stumbled upon a Catholic Church literally a block away from where I was living. Since fate seemed to bring the location to my attention, since it was so close, and since mass was late enough in the morning (11am) for me to be able to get up for it, Catholic guilt compelled me to attend mass. To be honest, this was the first Catholic service I had attended in South Africa. Last summer, there were no churches within access of where I was staying, and the only church service I was able to attend was a Methodist one. Needless to say, mass in South Africa was a bit different than mass at Saints Peter and Paul in Hamburg, NY. Aside from the obvious racial differences (seeing as though you would be hard pressed to find a single black person at SSPP), what really stuck out to me was the fact that the homily turned into more of a basic history lesson about various Christian schisms. I am not sure if the information was new to the other people present, but I found the experience to be a bit frustrating since I would have appreciated something with a little more depth. Plus, as a history major, I do have to admit that I was a bit annoyed by his butchering of historical details. At least the music was good…perhaps better than the Saint Pete’s Choir (sorry Mom).

Well, I should get back to work. I have a busy week ahead with my two research projects. To everyone back in the US, Happy Memorial Day! Enjoy the beginning of summer while I endure the beginning of another Cape Town winter.

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