Picture 2: Baboon LITERALLY 3 feet away from me
Picture 3: African Penguins (picture is orangeish due to the smoke and ash coming from the fires in the Cape)
For the first part of our day, we travelled to Cape Point, or more commonly referenced as the Cape of Good Hope, in which we climbed the rocks and pretty much hiked to the second oldest light house on the continent. As a lover of history, it was quite an outer body experience to realize I was literally standing at the end of the African continent. I was continually trying to visualize the confrontations Portuguese and Dutch explorers had with the area and even the perceptions of the wildlife as it’s had to adjust over history. To me, it’s always quite thrilling to be in such a historical concentrated environment and it always entices me to explore or wonder of the individual experiences.
It was from there that we went and saw the African Penguin colony, but what was truly on my mind was the overwhelmimg smoke in the air and the ash falling from a fire nearby. This morning we woke up and saw from our window the billowing smoke of a fire started due to dry conditions. This is an annual occurance that plagues Cape Town. From American forest fires we know they can be good for the ecology, which is also true in Cape Town. However, it’s tragic that these fires devastate animal life and people’s homes, especially those in the townships. So after about 45 minutes of withstanding the smoke and ash, we decided it was best to leave the area, which was perfect timining as the fire had already reached the road, people were prepared to evacuate, and roads were closing. It was overwhelming to just briefly witness the fire, so I can’t imagime being impacted and involved. So please keep the area in mind as I can still see flames from my window.
On a better note, we also had the privilege of having a Folk singer/songwriter from Cape Towm come to our team house and perform an intimate concert of her songs imvested in her perspectives of the South African experience. So as a white South African woman, Jenny Eaves still exemplified the same liberal social justice narrative we’ve been hearing and was very conscious of other South Africans’ experiences. She was very forthright in establishing her position and privilege in conjunction with her art to embody the traditional folk music purpose of spreading the news. All of us enjoyed and were moved by her music. I could very much identify with her in that as white women we have an identity that is oppressed, but we are not always intersectional beings that understand those specific social dynamics, yet we still dedicate our energy into that activism. I had mentioned earlier in the trip in group conversation how in my Women Studies classes I tend to listen rather than speak when the topic is intersectionality because I feel it is not my place to interject on that which I can never fully understand. So it was incredible when Jenny literally almost said the exact same thing in that she also emphasized the importance of listening when addresses issues that are not our own. So what I really grasped from her was her honesty about her perspective and how she fits into South Africa as a white woman in the social justice arena, but also empathy for the struggles of other people in South Africa. I took away that her intentions were to promote awareness of the different circumstances in South Africa and also expressed the importance of creating a constant, united, and inclusive front.