South Africa is a country everyone in India should visit. The reason is not it's phenomenal scenic beauty or the wild life or the glorious climate it possesses or the fun it allows you to have as a holiday maker, but to learn from the wisdom of how it's freedom movement defined a future upon truth and reconciliation. Where the white oppressors were not driven out but instead today live in the rainbow nation that chooses to exemplify the possibilities of racial harmony, and to avoid the temptation of retaliation.
The Apartheid museum in Johannesburg brings the sharp reality of the bestiality of white supremacy out into the open, with many film clips that detail the white propaganda of Afrikaner politics that chose to validate their inhuman approach, to the indigenous South African people. The impact of this museum is that it avoids over dramatizing the horrors of the Apartheid regime. It merely presents you with the factual, which leaves you feeling numb and horrified at how a world kept silent for so long, whilst these atrocities of persecution occurred so openly. The Apartheid museum equally celebrates the spirit of freedom too, through the documentation of speeches and interviews of Nelson Mandela, and gives to you an intimacy of information that allows you to grow to know this great man before the mantel of becoming a liberator of an oppressed land became his live long mission.
At all times the story of freedom is never appropriated as the legacy of one man, but attributed to the many ANC voices that charted this fight for reclaiming a nation sieged. Visiting Robin Island and finding that many of the volunteers are ex-prisoners from the Apartheid period, who have chilling tales to relate in the quiet narration of a tour guides agenda, suddenly silences you into confronting the apathy that governs free voices. Why outrage and denouncement did not resound through out all true democratic nations when encountering this flaunted oppression, is a question that should always haunt us. Today Aung San Suu Kyi is another voice fighting for freedom whom the world conveniently ignores.
The cleanliness and civic order of South Africa is yet another lesson for us to learn from. Eco friendly slogans are worn on uniforms and flashed on billboards; and a palpable commitment to the environment and to preserving the beauty and resources of their country is so evident in every nook and corner of this beautiful country.
The wide smiles and friendliness of the South African people, and the detailed vision of enhancing this nation as a tourist's paradise, shows up a country like India to be such a poor comparison. The Apartheid regime has a history so much more painful than our period of colonisation. And yet in such a short time of liberation the hope and development that is clearly evident has been possible because the black South African truly believes that the future will be defined through their endeavours to be empowered people.
Our black South African guide in Johannesburg has a little daughter, and his ambition is to put her into the Oprah Winfrey School for South African Girls, from under privileged situations. His eyes light up as he tells you how he sees the future of his daughter being empowered via the road of education, and that in learning and developing lies the success of all those who struggle. These voices are the real beacons of hope in the world and for me his shining hope is a light that will always infuse me to be inspired.