A few days and about 10,000 miles have passed since I last posted from our study tour in South Africa. Since then, we have all returned to our homes and begun the process of transitioning back to our regular lives and ministries. We spent almost 48 hours of waking time to make our way back to the states - and I am still working on getting adjusted to Indiana time and weather! But there are a few things that I have not yet blogged about from our final two days in Africa.
On Monday morning, we met with one final South African religious leader - Bishop Kevin Dowling of the Catholic Diocese of Rustenberg. You may recognize the name of the seat of his diocese because it is also the location of the mine violence that made international news in recent weeks and months. Rustenburg is just west of Johannesburg and is home to some of the largest platinum and gold mines in the world. Bishop Dowling graciously came to meet us at our hotel in Johannesburg so that we would not have to spend the time traveling to Rustenberg as a group. He spent the morning with us to share his ministry among the people of Rustenberg as well as summarize life in South Africa today, especially among the poor. In his remarks, he took a phrase that we had heard the previous day - that South Africa is a first world country on top of a third world country - and added another dimension, saying that South Africa is the best of the first world and the worst of the third world. The area around the mines in Rustenberg is a particular example of the worst of the third world. The primary area that Bishop Dowling has focused on is ministry to the huge number of people with HIV/AIDS living in the informal settlements around the mines. Through his leadership, health clinics have been opened with the support of the owners of the mines and local women have been trained as nurses to work alongside the people of the community. For many years, these health clinics were supported by by a program sponsored by the US Government called PEPFAR (The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief). This program provided Antiretroviral drugs to the local clinics that have greatly reduced the transmission of AIDS from mothers to their children and have dramatically decreased the number of deaths from AIDS. Unfortunately, PEPFAR's assistance to these clinics has been cut under the current US administration. But the clinics continue to seek other funding sources to continue their important work.
We have been extraordinarily blessed during our time in South Africa to meet with faithful, dedicated religious leaders at all levels. One of the goals of the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program is to provide opportunities for us learn about leadership by spending time talking with remarkable leaders. In Bishop Dowling, we met a religious leader who walks alongside his people as one of them. In sharing the ministry of the health clinics his diocese runs, it was obvious that Bishop Dowling was sharing his heart that beats as one with the hearts of his people. He is not a distant leader but a personal leader, and it was quite inspiring to learn from him.
Following our meeting with Bishop Dowling, we set off for the final adventure of our time in South Africa - a safari! We drove about three and a half hours north of Johannesburg to Entabeni Game Reserve. Upon arrival, we were greeted at the gate by our guides and land cruisers that took us to the lodge and then on a safari drive to experience the majestic and graceful animals of Africa in their natural habitat. Words cannot really describe what it is like to see these animals that are so familiar from zoos in the land that is theirs. We saw giraffes, zebras, ostriches, jackals, warthogs, guineafowl, a rock hyrax, and several different kinds of antelope - especially blesbok, hartebeasts, wildebeasts, impala, and gnus. But most spectacular was our encounter with two of the Big Five of Africa - elephants and rhinoceroses (the rest of the Big Five are lions, leopards, and buffalo). The elephants came fairly early in our drive - we turned a corner, and there was a group of six or seven elephants calmly eating along the side of the road. We stopped our vehicles and just marveled at these huge animals as they crossed the road right in front of us on the way to look for more food. After they passed out of site, we continued on, passing through a large grassland area filled with various kinds of antelope grazing. On the horizon, we saw some black rhinos and made our way there. Most of the time, our land cruisers stayed on the dirt roads of the reserve, but our driver, Piet, drove off the road to get us close to the rhinos - and when I say close, I mean close! Most of the time, we were only about 15-20 feet from the adult male, adult female, and 7-month old baby rhino as they grazed and interacted with one another - but at one point the adult male made his way to our vehicle so that we were only a couple feet away - quite an unforgettable experience! In all, we spent about 15-20 minutes in the same space as these magnificent animals before moving on. Late in the drive, it started raining, so we made our way back to the lodge for the night. A great dinner was prepared for us, and the staff of the lodge entertained us with traditional African music and dancing. We woke early the next morning for another safari drive, which was cut short and had limited success because of continuing rain. Because of the rain, we couldn't go through a gorge to the lower section of the reserve, where the lions and leopards live - but our safari experience was nonetheless unforgettable. It will be hard to visit a zoo now that we have seen these animals in their natural habitat.
While the study tour is over, I still hope to add some more thoughts to this blog - some pictures from the trip as well as some overall reflections on our experience and how to bring it back to our context as pastors in Indiana. So keep checking back - but for now, it is good to be home! For now, a few photos from the safari.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
We are now in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa and the financial capital of the country - in fact, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange is directly across from our hotel in the suburb of Sandton. But before talking about our itinerary here, there is one last visit in Cape Town that I have not yet talked about. Yesterday morning, we visited Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town with the pastor and parishioners of JL Zwane Memorial Presbyterian Church as our guides. Gugulethu is much different than Khayelitsha township, which we visited eariler in the week. People have been living in Gugulethu for much longer, and therefore there are more settled residences and established housing - there are some areas with tin shacks, but stone houses are predominant. We walked through one area of shacks and also were invited inside a stone house where some orphans lived who had been assisted by the church. Since it was Saturday, there were a lot of people around going about their regular business - shopping, getting their hair done, washing cars, visiting with friends. A group of children on one street decided they would sing for us - the South African National Anthem and some other songs. You could tell that the children are used to people with cameras coming through their neighborhood - the loved to pose for us and wanted to see the pictures on our camera screens. After our tour, we returned to JL Zwane Church where the pastor, Rev. Swipo Xapile, spoke to us about his ministry and that of the church in the township. This was our first chance to talk with a pastor who is currently ministering at a local church. He shared with us their ministry in the community, seeing their church as a true parish - concerned with the well being of everyone who lives in the township, not just those who are members of their church. They work especially in HIV/AIDS ministry and with orphans, as well as being a voice for the people of Gugulethu. Throughout our time in South Africa, we have heard a common refrain - that reconcilation, peace, and understanding can only happen when it begins with personal relationships. Countless times we have heard stories of one black person becoming friends with one white person - and over time that relationship develops and makes something like apartheid unthinkable. And eventually, these personal relationships can lead to reconcilation for an entire country. After leaving Gugulethu, we had some time for lunch and last minute shopping in Cape Town before heading to the airport for the two-hour flight to Johannesburg. We arrived late in the evening for dinner and then settling in at our hotel. This morning, we went to the area of Johannesburg that was most significant in the struggle against apartheid - Soweto. An acronym for South Western Townships, Soweto is the collective name for 38 different neighborhoods that have been home to Black South Africans for over 100 years. Like Gugulethu, Soweto is composed of a variety of different types of housing - from metal shacks to high-end homes. This area was home to both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and today has 4 million people, half of the total population of Johannesburg. In 1976, there was a student protest in Soweto against the mandated use of the Afrikaans language in education. Thousands of students marched through the streets in peaceful protest, but the police were suspicious and opened fire into the crowd, killing, among others, a 13-year-old boy named Hector Peterson. A photographer took a picture of another boy carrying Hector's body through the street - a picture that went around the world and helped to mobilize worldwide condemnation of the apartheid government and their practices. The Soweto uprising was a key turning point in the struggle for freedom in South Africa. During our time in Soweto, we visited the location of the protest and shooting as well as the Hector Peterson Museum. We also visited the site where the famous Freedom Charter was adoped in 1955. Today, Soweto appears to be a vibrant community that, while still visibly bearing the marks of apartheid that separated people into communities by race, is a sign of the spirit of the people of this country. This was especially evident as we worshiped this morning at Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto. This church played a significant role in the struggle, hiding people from the government and being the site of gunfire and killings - right in the church itself. Following the end of apartheid, Regina Mundi was one of the sites of meetings of the Truth and Reconcilation Commission. While we were not able to stay for the entire three-hour Mass this morning, we did have a beautiful experience of African liturgy. The singing was multi-part a capella, led by a choir, accompanied only by African drum - and there was a lot of singing! And the singing was both an expression of local culture and a moving way of praising God. The pastor, Fr. Benedict, OMI, gave us a warm welcome. Perhaps the most unique part of the Mass was an elaborate procession at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word. About fifty women wearing special outfits went to the back of the church to form a procession with the lectors carrying the lectionary. The women sang and marched in a slow, rhythmic procession to accompany the Word of God to the sanctuary - a great sign of reverence for Scripture. The majority of the Mass was in the Zulu language, so we couldn't understand the words - but as with all Catholic Masses, the liturgy is universal. Here, at prayer, we witnessed the deep faith and vibrant spirit of the people of South Africa, and Soweto in particular. Upon our return to the hotel, we met with Megan Baxter, the executive director of the Theological Education by Extension College. They run a distance learning program for about 3,500 students, primarily in South Africa, who need various kinds of theological training for ministry, providing this service for over 20 different Cristian denominations. As an example, they work with some Catholic dioceses to provide theological formation for permanent deacon candidates. Many of the people who take classes through this program have not completed the equivalent of a high school diploma, making their work both more difficult and more important. Megan used a phrase that summarized much of what we have experienced about life in South Africa - it is a first world country and a third world country on top of one another. That description seems to be right on target. Our study tour is quickly coming to an end. Tomorrow morning, we have our final formal meeting - with Bishop Kevin Dowling of the Catholic Diocese of Rustenberg. Then we head to the Waterberg region northeast of Johannesburg for a one-night safari. And then we begin the long journey home. Internet connections may be limited for the rest of the trip, so I don't know if I will be able to update the blog or not - but I will continue to post reflections even after returning to the states.
Friday, October 19, 2012
The drizzle of rain that began last evening continued through the night and most of today, giving us a much different view of our surroundings - or actually less of a view of the mountains that surround Cape Town. But this morning we left the city to travel down the Cape Point peninsula. We spent the morning in Simon's Town visiting with Rev. Peter Storey, a Methodist minister and former bishop of the Methodist Church in South Africa. During the years of apartheid, he was very active in the struggle for freedom and equality. As a young pastor, he was one of the rotating chaplains on Robben Island, where he met and ministered to the Rivonia trialists, including Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela, who is Methodist. He later served as pastor of the Methodist church in District Six in Cape Town during the time when all the non-whites who lived there - meaning everyone who lived there - was forced by the government to move to townships on the outskirts of town. During our conversation, he helped us understand both the philosophy of apartheid and how churches were involved in the anti-apartheid struggle. Apartheid itself was built on the foundations of Nazi ideology and Dutch Reform theology, with a starting point of believing that white Afrikaners were the chosen people who had been given the land of South Africa by God to live in and rule. To make that happen, they instituted several policies - 1) the race classification system which often arbitrarily defined people as white, black, coloured, or Asian; 2) the group areas act which determined where people could live, based on race, giving the best and most land to the whites; 3) the bantu education act which reformed the educational system so that blacks did not have the opportunity to have a quality education; and 4) the institution of a police state that would imprison and punish anyone who did not agree with the dominant policy. Many Christians - black, white, and coloured - opposed the apartheid system from the beginning. Rev. Storey reflected that their active opposition included speaking the truth, especially when it is difficult; walking alongside those who were being oppressed; and being leaders in the community, not just within the church walls. We also spoke about the ongoing efforts at reconciliation following the end of apartheid. Dutch Reform theology has understood the grave evil that resulted from what they now see as a heretical theology - but they are still working to overcome the stigma of being the church of apartheid. As Rev. Storey put it - as long as there was a white person who was friends with a black person, the apartheid system saw itself as a failure; as long as there is one white person who doesn't want to be friends with a black person, the church is a failure. Rev. Storey joined us for lunch at a restaurant in Simon's Town, then we had some time this afternoon to enjoy the beautiful natural area of Cape Point. We began at Boulders Beach, where we saw a colony of African penguins - one of the largest and most easily viewed colonies of penguins on mainland Africa. We then traveled to the tip of Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope - the most southwestern point on the African continent. A funicular took us to the top of the cliff overlooking the tip, where there is a lighthouse that has guided sailers for many years and is the brightest lighthouse in the southern hemishphere. It was quite cold, windy, and rainy at Cape Point, giving us a chance to understand the original name that European explorers gave it - the Cape of Storms. Along the way, we saw a little of the wildlife of the area in spite of the weather - some baboons, ostrich, and a bontebok. Tomorrow, we plan to visit Gugulethu township, which had originally been scheduled for last Sunday but was rescheduled because of a truck drivers' strike. We then fly to Johannesburg for the final part of our trip. I don't know what the internet connection will be like once we get there, so there may not be an update tomorrow - but keep checking back!
Thursday, October 18, 2012
One of the amazing things about technology is being able to stay connected with news and information from halfway around the world. Today, our entire group rejoiced in the news that Archbishop Joseph Tobin, CSsR, has been named the new Archbishop of Indianapolis. Although I was not able to be physically present for the announcement, I join with so many others who welcome Archbishop Tobin to Indianapolis and look forward to ministry with him. Today in South Africa, we met with a different kind of archbishop - the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town. Archbishop Thabo Makgobo is in a long line of bishops in South Africa, but his most famous predecessor was Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who was the spiritual leader of the anti-apartheid struggle. We met at Bishopscourt, the Anglican Archbishop's official residence an office, which is located in one of the most exclusive and expensive neighborhoods of Cape Town. When Archbishop Tutu moved in, he became the first black African to live in that neighborhood. Archbishop Thabo's personal story is quite remarkable and hopeful - he grew up in the township of Alexandra in Johannesburg, one of the poorest and most dangerous townships in that city. One of his childhood friends and classmates has only worked a total of six months in the last thirty years. Through a series of providential opportunities, Archbishop Thabo was able to be educated, ordained, and now serve as one of the most influential leaders in the country. We spent an hour and a half with him this morning - twice the amount of time originally scheduled - and he was very gracious, hospitable, and generous in sharing his wisdom and experience. As a pastor, he spoke of the importance of rootedness - in Scripture and prayer, in self-assurance and humility. As a community leader, he spoke of his responsibility to make sure the voices of the poor are heard by those in power - especially the government. As he does so, he works closely with other faith leaders - especially Catholic Archbishop Stephen Brislin, whom we met earlier in the week. Hope and despair have been constantly in tension as we learn more about the South Africa of today - but Archbishop Thabo kept returning to hope, because we are Christians, and we know that Christ is always victorious and that good will always prevail. Toward the end of our conversation, one of the pastors in the group commented on the portraits of all the previous archbishops of Cape Town that were hanging on the wall of the room we were in and asked Archbishop Thabo if there were any of his predecessors who especially guided him in his own ministry. He responded by talking about each of his predecessors individually - about a dozen in total - and a story or quality about each one that inspired him - from gifts of bringing order to the church to speaking against apartheid long before people like Nelson Mandela were in the public sphere. Archbishop Thabo realizes that he stands on the shoulders of giants - we might call them saints - without whom his own ministry and leadership would be impossible. Our morning visit with Archbishop Thabo ranks as one of the highlights of the trip so far. While the rest of the day contained some interesting and fruitful encounters, it is hard to follow such a profound morning. At lunch, we were joined by two Anglican priests - one who runs an HIV/AIDS ministry, and the other who works in areas of domestic abuse and women's issues. They shared their work with us. Following lunch, we drove about an hour outside of central Cape Town to Stellenbosch where we met with faculty and students from the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University. Among those in our gathering were the former moderator of the Dutch Reform Church in South Africa and the current moderator of the Uniting Reform Church in Southern Africa. Our conversations were centered around how theology is taught to seminary and theology students so that it includes practical theology and community leadership. We had the fortune of being at the University on the day of a potjie competition within the Theology School. Potjie is a traditional Afrikaner stew made in a cast iron pot and cooked over coals for several hours. The competition was something like a chili cookoff for us in the states. The students and faculty members graciously invited us to join them to sample the variety of stews made from old family recipes and Afrikaner creativity. Among the varieties I tried was one that we think had lamb in it - but there was also warthog, springbok, beef, pork, and much more! As we returned to the hotel tonight, a slight drizzle began - the first rain we have seen in South Africa.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Our experiences in South Africa have introduced us to many religious leaders who are at the highest levels of conversation and ministry in this country. At the same time, we have had the opportunity to see first-hand the reality of life in post-apartheid South Africa. Today, we spent time doing both of these things. In the morning, we were hosted by Imam Rashied Omar at the Claremont Main Road Mosque for a gathering of the Western Cape Religious Leaders. In addition to the imam, we were joined by Jewish, Anglican, Catholic, and Protestant religious leaders who are very active in the community. This group of leaders meets regularly to work on social dialogue - pooling their resources and influence to bring about better living conditions for the people of South Africa. One of the leaders who joined us was Rev. Mpho Tutu, daughter of Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and herself an Anglican minister. The Consul General of the United States in Cape Town also joined us for the meeting. Her presence witnessed to the important work of these religious leaders. Among the current issues they are working on are an anti-corruption campaign and addressing domestic violence. But perhaps the most important thing we learned was the impact that interfaith dialogue and cooperation can have in communities, especially in the midst of community crisis. Following our large group presentations, we had a chance to talk with some of the religious leaders present over a delicious lunch prepared by the members of the mosque. At my table were the consul general and the chairman of the board at the mosque - definitely enlightening conversations. Our afternoon began by visiting one of the townships of Cape Town - Khayelitsha. The townships were originally created when the apartheid government forced black Africans to leave wherever they were living and move to designated black-only areas. Khayelitsha was first settled in 1983 and is now home to between 700,000 and 1 million people. There are some formal settlements, with streets, electricity, cinderblock houses, and perhaps running water. But we visited an informal settlement where people live in makeshift wood and metal shacks with dirt alleys, no running water, and limited electricity. The living conditions are about as poor and destitute as you could imagine - and it goes on for mile after mile. We were accompanied by some young adults from the township who have been educated and now work with a group called the Social Justice Coalition - a grassroots social movement campaigning for safe, healthy, and dignified communities in the townships. The people we were with are working paricularly to improve sanitary conditions by education on proper use of water from the communal taps and installing and maintaining flush toilets. Some residents of Khayelitsha have to walk 15-20 minutes to get to a flush toilet. The staff members who accompanied us live and work in the township - and I can honestly say that I never felt in danger during our visit. But we all certainly felt uncomfortable, especially knowing that these areas of extraordinary poverty are so close to neighborhoods of extraordinary wealth. As I have said before, the gap between poor and rich in South Africa is growing - it is greater now than during apartheid and is among the greatest in the world. We are all still processing this experience and how it fits in with everything else we have learned here - and with what we are learning about leadership. An already full day concluded by visiting Ons Plek, a shelter for homeless young women in Cape Town. Affiliated with a Methodist Church and receiving support from the Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ Global Ministries, the shelter provides a safe place for up to 34 young women who have left home for a variety of reasons. Many of the girls have come from the townships, and the house works with them to be able to get back to their families and receive an education. With a long day completed, we look forward to meeting tomorrow with the Anglican Achbishop of Cape Town and faculty and students at the University of Stellenbosch, a school affiliated with the Dutch Reform Church. We also await a pending announcement expected on Thursday from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis concerning our next Archbishop. As ever, more to come.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
One of the goals of our time in South Africa is to dialogue with church and community leaders about the issues that face the people of the country almost 20 years after the end of apartheid. Today, we had some wonderful opportunities to have these conversations. We began at the offices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Town. We had arranged to meet with Fr. Peter John Pearson, vicar general of the Archdiocese and director of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office. He asked Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town to stop in to greet us for about five minutes - but the Archbishop graciously stayed with us for over 45 minutes, sharing his experiences and answering questions. Archbishop Brislin is well respectd, articulate, and passionate about both the Church and South Africa - and he has recently been elected president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference. After the Archbishop left, other staff members of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office joined us, and we spoke about the role they play in advocating for justice issues with the South African Parliament. After a great lunch at an Eastern Food Bazaar, we then spent the afternoon at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation with their executive director, Dr. Fanie DuToit, and two other staff members. The IJR came into existnce following the conclusion of the work of the Truth and Reconcilation Commission - a government-mandated program led by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu that allowed people to publicly confess sins committed under apartheid and receive immunity from prosecution. The IJR now serves as a think tank to keep the issues of justice and reconciliation in the forefront of public conversation. They have also begun to serve as consultants for other African countries that need to go through a similar healing process. Our conversations today were rich and meaningful, and we gained great insight into the situation in South Africa today and what we can learn from people here. While the is too much to share on this blog, here are a few insights: 1) immigration from other African countries has increased in recent years because of the view that South Africa has advanced more than other countries on the continent, yet 2) there is still great tension among people in South Africa, with the gap between rich and poor being wider now than under apartheid, leading to 3) race being replaced by class as the dominant division among people; this parallels many trends in the US, as well as 4) a growing secularism among the wealthier people, while the poor have rich and vibrant religious expressions; 5) both the Catholic leadership and the IJR see an important part of their role being conveners, who can bring people together to listen to one another and share stories, and 6) many religious leaders see the importance of working together to advocate for the needs of the poor and ongoing reconcilation (the Catholic and Anglican Archbishops of Cape Town often visit neighborhoods and townships together) because 7) they have decided not to be watch dogs for the government but rather guide dogs, helping to maintain the hard-fought space for dialogue and converstion made possible by a democratic society, 8) a free society in which some of the white people felt that they were the first to be free in 1994 because they no longer were burdended by the forced division of apartheid that they did not agree with. This evening, we are gathering for debriefing and prayer after a long and productive day. God continues to bless our pilgrim journey, especially through the people we have been able to meet and talk with.
Monday, October 15, 2012
From 1964 through 1989, Ahmed Kathrada was a political prisoner in apartheid South Africa. He had been tried along with Nelson Mandela and six others at the Rivonia Trials, accused of sabotage and working to overthrow the government. They were sentenced to life in prison. For the first twenty years, Kathrada, Mandela and the others were incarcerated on Robben Island, a beautiful small island a few miles off the coast of Cape Town. Prior to being a prison, the island had housed a leper colony. During the years of apartheid, it housed both political prisoners and common law prisoners, but in different buildings which had no opportunity for communication among the prisoners. The final years of their imprisonment were spent in facilities on the mainland, but for the majority of their time, they were in small, single cells on Robben Island. The entire group of political prisoners was released in 1989. Five years later, Mandela was elected president of South Africa in the first free and democratic elections in the country. Kathrada served in parliament and became one of Mandela's closest advisors. He was also instrumental in turning Robben Island into a heritage site and museum, where people can learn about the anti-apartheid struggle and the hope for a free and equal future. Kathrada has returned to the island many times since his release - 23 years ago today - and on the anniversary of that release, we had the honor of accompanying him to the island where he spent almost 20 years in a cell across from the most famous South African of the last century - Nelson Mandela. Today, it was Mr. Kathrada who held a key to the cells in the political prisoners unit. He led us on a private tour of the areas where he worked, ate, spent time in recreation, and helped keep the spirit of freedom alive. He used the jailer's key to first open Mandela's cell, and we all had the opportunity to step inside the small, 6ft x 8ft room, where the electric light stayed on 24 hours a day and there was no running water. I touched the thick bars over the window that overlooked a courtyard. I ran my hands along the walls that surrounded Mr. Mandela for all those years. Then we went to the other side of the hall, and Mr. Kathrada used the key that had kept him locked up for so many years to open his own cell so that we could go inside. He told us how food in the prison was regulated based on color - Mr. Kathrada would receive bread each day because he was Indian, but Mr. Mandela and the other black Africans received no bread. He told us how systems of communication were developed among the prisoners - which he should know since he was in change of communications for the political prisoners. He told us from first-hand experience how Mr. Mandela evolved as a leader through the years, never setting himself above the people but right along side them. To see the past and the present connected through one man who lived through it all was humbling and profound. There are many blessings on this trip, but this may be the highlight. Regular visitors to Robben Island can see Mr. Mandela's cell from the outside; they can't go in - but we did. Other visitors to Robben Island get an overview of the history of the place, but we heard the stories from a man who was there, who lived side by side with Mr. Mandela and the other political prisoners, who knew first hand the harsh reality of apartheid even in prison, and who has helped to shape the South Africa of today. We were blessed indeed. This afternoon, a small group of us visited the District Six Museum in Cape Town. District Six had been a predominantly black neighborhood until it was declared a whites-only area in the 1950s. The residents were forcibly removed and sent to new areas farther away from the city where it was more difficult to get to the places they worked and they had to start life over - often with no electricity and no running water in buildings that were more like shacks. They had no choice in the matter. Then the entire district was torn to the ground. In subsequent years, there was great unrest over the forced removals, and very little of the land of District Six was developed. Now, former residents of the district are able to reclaim land that had once been theirs. Though pictures, testimonials, and reconstructed rooms, the museum chronicles the story of District Six. Many of us reflected that the life in the district looked no different than the any city in the US in the 1950s - the clothes, the families, the buildings, the forms of entertainment - the stories were all familiar. Even the racial segregation was the same. Both countries struggled with race relations during these years, with different experiences and different results. But there were many similarities. This evening, we prayed together as a group and spent some time reflecting on our experiences. After dinner in small groups along the waterfront, our remarkable day in Cape Town is coming to an end. More experieneces await us tomorrow.