This entry is cross-posted from SEIU.org and authored by Leah Maddox
To truly honor the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, one must first begin to understand his history and the history of his country.
Stephanie and Shanisha deepened that journey, visiting the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa, to study the rise and fall of a state-sanctioned system based of racial discrimination.
“When I bought my ticket it read ‘Black Adult,'” puzzled Shanisha. “As I entered the building, the entrance said ‘Colored’ on side and ‘Whites’ on the other. My mouth dropped. I have just entered the race classification system.
“I looked over and there was Stephanie on the other side of me. So others in our group had received a ‘White’ ticket. I could hear them on the other side, and their emotional reactions, but I couldn’t see or talk to them.”
Stephanie and Shanesha also visited Mandela’s childhood home.
“The neighbor gave us such a warm welcoming, and the children were dancing and playing,” smiled Stephanie.
“But looking around at the neighborhood made me think about things back in Chicago. You see so many similarities. There aren’t enough good jobs so people are hand-making items to sell on the streets. And kids are out making up games to play in the street, because there are no parks close by their homes in which to play.
“You just realize how small this world really is, when you travel and see so many parallels. Going to see the home where Nelson Mandela started was so special for that reason.”