Saturday, 18 October 2008

‘It’s in our hands’

18 / 10 / 8
‘It’s in our hands’
That quote just popped up on my desktop. I guess that it often will as I have a photo of Mandela with the quote above it as my background.

I spoke with Masie, a friend & researcher, in Johannesburg this morning and he has done an excellent job of arranging for a meeting with the veterans in Cape Town. He lives in Soweto and I met him the first time I visited South Africa in 2003. He said to me that he is so pleased to be working on this project with David & I due to the fact that it is such an important subject and something that needs to be broadcasted. He was disappointed that it took two ‘foreigners’ to get this project off the ground, but now that it is, he is very pleased to be a part of it.

I am a bit nervous about our first meeting. In the back of my mind, I wish that he would be with us for the interviews as I do feel like a ‘foreigner’ and would greatly appreciate his calming influence. But, he has had the nerve to get married next week and, as he says, he is ‘stressed up to his neck’ with things to do. So, I guess that it is up to just David & I. I hope that he will be able to come to future interviews as, besides the fact that he would be a calming person, he deserves to meet these fellow South Africans whom he holds in such high regard.

David and I were taken on a beautiful tour of the Cape from Cape Town around and beyond Clifton beach. We watched the sun set behind Sentinel mountain and checked out the native and foreign fauna along the road. They had closed part of the road due to rock slides, but this gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs and get really close to the land as we carried on walking a kilometre or so after parking our car.

We went with Richard Whiting, the research manager at the Robben Island Museum. He was an excellent guide and had an interesting life story which led him to the museum. Again, I am reminded of Mandela’s words that there are more people involved than the world knows. And Richard is one of them. A very potted History: He left South Africa to escape conscription into the army because, as he puts it, ‘first it will be (service) in Botswana or Namibia but later then it would be Soweto (this was in the late 1970’s after the Soweto uprising)’. So he left to Botswana. He came to the UK to study and finally returned to a democratic SA in the 1990’s.
He has given us a lot of material to mull over and digest in preparation for our first set of interviews early next week.

We are off to RIM later today – David hopes to take a tour of the prison while I stay on at the museum (I went to the prison in 2003). Other than that, a pretty lazy day. Read my beloved ‘Mail & Guardian’ newspaper whilst sipping coffee by the pool. Hard knock research project (I hope Trevor doesn’t read this…..).

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