Soweto Diary

“In judging our progress as individuals, we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education… but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within reach of every human soul.” – Nelson Mandela, 1977.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me explore Soweto a short while back with my friend Idil while she came to visit in December, which now seems like aaaages ago.

 

We started off at 8115 Vilakazi St, Orlando West which was Mandela’s house before he was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years. The humble red brick house is a must visit if you’re exploring Johannesburg, not just because of the history but also to experience the rich culture that is Soweto.

Soweto’s vibrance comes out in how the people hang out on the street, playing music, roasting meat and talking. Children and performers give a show on the pavements with their dances and songs. There are souvenir vendors all along the streets displaying their wares at a fair price. In that sense, it’s not like Kenya where I can haggle for a better price for close to ten minutes at the Maasai Market. I truly do miss Nairobi, Nairobae as the cool kids on Instagram would say.

In some ways, Soweto does feel like home. In its realness, it’s people and the sense of community.

 

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How gorgeous is Idil?!! MashaAllah!

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On display in the house are Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela’s accolades, awards and honorary degrees. Most of the awards were actually Mama Winnie’s, she went on to fight for freedom while her husband was imprisoned until the last minute when apartheid was abolished.

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Courage..

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Liberation..

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We walked up Vilakazi Street and managed to get a spectacular view of Soweto and The Orlando Towers. We immediately decided, on complete impulse, to try something different from our usual art gallery, museum, chilled type of vibe and instead be crazy and go bungee jumping or free falling at the Orlando Towers just fifteen minutes away.

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They sent us videos of us free falling and it’s hilarious! You can see the exact moment shock takes over when I realized he’d released the buckle and I was falling down 100 metres onto a not so inflated bouncing castle. Unforgettable.

Hope I’ve convinced you to visit Soweto!

xx

Saturday Shenanigans Seven

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One of my favourite places to hang out is Melrose Arch, an artsy precinct with cute restaurants, coffee shops, fashion boutiques, retail stores and amazing apartments, reminding me a little of Block 338 in Bahrain.

The Starbucks here has a cute vibe; the material palette, decor and lighting works so well together. I particularly loved the wooden seats outside. I make a habit to consciously collect pictures of inspiration just in case, so in the future I can execute the ideas in my spaces.

I didn’t experiment much with my food choices as I just wanted a coffee and a cute backdrop to take pictures. Had a cappuccino with almond milk, and some delicious chocolate and lavender macaroons.

Feeling so fulfilled typing this out, I just love it when I start my week off inspired.

In Transit.

I don’t know when I stopped counting down the days in a year. It used to be a habit I started with the intent of making me more conscious and aware of time.

At that time, I felt like I was really chasing after something. Keeping track of my goals every day amidst anxiety, hope and extremely bourgeoisie dreams. It hit me the other day that I got drowned in working hard that I forgot that I initially had an end goal.

When you end up working so hard you lose track and forget your goals… Just working. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a moment of lucidity that prompts you to realize you got a little distracted on your goals. It’s great, because it will force you to sort of restart your system and get back on track.

Remember, the work is a stepping stone but it is not the end goal.

So you take a step back, take a deep breath and empty your mind. The world sort of goes quiet in those moments. And you get to watch your life from a few steps back and think, hey. I’m proud of you kiddo.

That lucid feeling descended on me on Thursday. I looked up to the sky and saw the thin crescent moon at around 4.30 pm marking The Islamic New Year, 1439. A new moon. A new year. It just seemed very special and magical in that moment.

I can’t describe what happened next but I felt the hairs raise on the back of my neck and arms, and the entire world went completely silent. And there I was – just staring at the Alzu Petroport view point.

There’s this pool where wildlife come to graze – I remember seeing zebras and buffaloes. It’s almost as if that moment overcame all my senses that I couldn’t really digest all that was before me. Like, I was in a dream.

We got only five minutes to take pictures then we were back on the road. It was a long ride, from Nelspruit to Sandton, and I’m grateful I got to see the sunset. The sun sets quite early around here – a huge ball of fire in the sky from around 5.30 – 6 pm. It’s magnificent.

Oh, and today is the 268th day of 2017. 268/ 365.

97 days remaining in 2017.

I need to do more memorable things.