This is my first chance to report on our last day in Cape Town, having been in transit for the last 33 hours.
Day 6 for us was Sunday, now a continent away. We went to worship at JL Zwane church in Guguletu township. Guguletu is also in Cape Flats, right next to Philippi where iThemba Labantu is located. (Guguletu and Philippi are essentially adjacent suburbs, if it’s proper to call them that).
The entire service except for a couple of songs was in Xhosa, a cool African language that uses click consonants. The music was all a cappella with a little bit of hand percussion. It was classic African style: simple, repetitive chord structures with luscious but straightforward melodies and harmonies. I’ll post a bit of recorded audio when I have the opportunity. Occasionally an English word would pop out such as a number or Bible book. Otherwise, we have no idea what the sermon was about or any of the song lyrics.
JL Zwane is a thriving place where worshippers come in their finest clothing each Sunday and enjoy passionate preaching, singable and danceable music, and rich community life. It is an open and accepting community that deals head-on with AIDS, unlike many African churches where the subject is taboo.
South Africa is so westernized that it’s almost possible to forget you’re in Africa until you worship at JL Zwane. Cool stuff.
1. We finally saw and photographed the penguins at Boulder’s Beach. Penguins are quirky and compelling creatures. It was a special opportunity to see them outside captivity. The wind was blowing so hard when we were there, it almost knocked us down.
2. We went to Cape Point (the extreme southern tip of the Cape of Good Hope which forms the western side of False Bay). There is an argument over whether Cape Point is properly designated as the place where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean. While there, we ate at the Two Oceans Restaurant, so at the very least it’s clear where the restaurant management comes down on that question. 😉
3. We saw a number of baboons in the wild at Cape Point and along the road leading to it. Through a bit of cunning and aggression, one of them was able to abscond with an ice cream cone that the human who purchased it did not wish to surrender. Very impressive.
4. Did I mention that the almost 19-hour plane ride from Joburg to DC is a butt buster? We left Joburg at 6:15 pm local time. This gave us late evening sun and twilight for the first 90 minutes, or so. After that, since we were going west, we stayed in darkness for the entire remainder of the flight, arriving in DC before sunrise. Our night lasted 17+ hours. Very disorienting.
5. As the official trip photographer, I took more than 1,100 still pictures. Laura took another 150 or so. On the butt buster flight we reviewed all the pictures and deleted those with technical problems – motion blur, subject out of focus, bad exposure, etc. We also picked the best shot where there was redundancy. That left 800ish usable images. After that, I went back through and picked 131 favorites that tell the story. Completing the multimedia projects about the trip are going to take more time than the trip itself. Eeek!
7. Besides a mild sunburn on my balding scalp, what did I come back with that I didn’t have when I left? Stay tuned for a future post on that.
8. We’re home. Dilemma: take a nap now or try to wait until this evening and then try to sleep through the night? Everyone has their own theory on that.