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the lesson from my soweto diary

the lesson from my soweto diary

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Published by Kenneth Nkemnacho

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Published by: Kenneth Nkemnacho on Mar 09, 2011
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07/11/2014

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THE LESSON FROM MY SOWETO DIARY
1
By Kenneth Nkemnacho
Some years ago, I had the opportunity of visiting South Africa.Thanks to the organisation I worked for then. My colleagues and Iwere to spend a few weeks in Midrand mastering the art of running aQuick Service Restaurant, as my organisation was involved in afranchising business. It was a great privilege to visit that great nationthat I have heard and read so much about. Apart from hearing andreading about South Africa, some of the things I’ve either seen onmovies or watched on the television made me have a passion for thenation and the people therein.It took about five and half hours from Lagos, Nigeria on board theSouth Africa Airline to get to Johannesburg. One of the things thatamazed me at first sight was the beauty of the Airport. As a rationalbeing, I quickly made a comparison between were I came from andmy present location; my mathematical variation was a completeinverse proportionality. At the Airport, we were picked up by a whitecab driver who is of Eastern European origin. As we drove pastHOLIDAY INN, I was carried away by the level of maintenance of the roads. Unlike my home town where potholes and ‘basin holes’wrestle with vehicles, I felt no galloping so, there was no walloping.The journey to Midrand; in the suburb of Johannesburg was withmixed feelings for me. I thought about my native home and where ourgovernment got it wrong, I also thought about what went wrong whenthe evil apartheid regime was in power. I remembered the sacrificesmade by people like Dr. Nelson Mandela and all those who died toensure the freedom of this great nation. In less than one hour aftermissing our route a few times, we arrived at
Bambanani
Guest House.
Bambanani
according to the Guest House manager, Peter is a Zulu
 
THE LESSON FROM MY SOWETO DIARY
2
word for
togetherness.
Hmmm, I said to myself, freedom can only bewon when the people are together. The lesson of togetherness is whatevery human race should learn. The only way to crush evil oppositionis when
UNITY 
prevails in a community and among a people. Ourdivision only strengthens our oppressors. The battle for freedom isonly won in the spirit of love.A few years before my arrival in South Africa, one of my friends in abid to escape the frustrations in my native home adventured into thetales of migration. With no passport, visa, or money in the pocket, hewas on his way to South Africa; the new Europe of Africa. To cut along story short, he finally arrived after about twelve months on theroad, but that was not without spending about three months in aCameroon jail for breaking immigration rules. My friend ‘U’, as I willprefer to call him got married to a South African lady ‘E’. As a wellcultured African man, I was determined to say, ‘Thank you’ to thefamily that gave their daughter to a complete stranger with no trace of his family background. One cold Saturday morning, while I was off work, we decided to pay a visit to Soweto, where my ‘in-laws’ live.The journey from Brakpan to Soweto was a bit long but excitingbecause I was very enthusiastic about Soweto; Soweto was a symbolof the fight and the struggle against the apartheid regime. In Soweto, Iwas given a typical Zululand hospitality by my in-laws; to tell thetruth, I was touched by their hospitality.During my visit, I met Beki, another in-law who offered to take meround Soweto. I was delighted. We started by visiting Morris IsaacsonHigh School, where the 1976 riot started. From there, we proceededto the Beer Hall which has been left as a monument for historical andtourism purposes. Opposite the Beer Hall is an old train station and
 
THE LESSON FROM MY SOWETO DIARY
3
beside it is the only Fire Service Station as at then. Somewherearound the High School was a Police Station which was then operatedby white racists. Beki also took me to Regina Mundi Catholic Churchwere I saw the bullet holes on the walls and roof of the building.These were holes inflicted by the bullets of the racist Police Officerswhen they chased the Secondary School student rioters into thechurch premises.MORRIS ISAACSON HIGH SCHOOLAs an inquisitive person, I asked Beki, ‘What was the reason for theriot?’ The question was not as a result of ignorance of what happenedin South Africa, but a quest to understand the philosophy behind theaction. I believe that as individuals or a community, we must not justembark on actions, but do things with the guidance of a positive

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