My blog post is about our last CIEE – Cape Town class reflection in Newlands Forest where a wolf and a cricket (the names of our teachers’ dogs) acted as our spirit guides. We used items to represent lessons we learned in Cape Town. As our time in Cape Town comes to an end, I feel sad to go but also ready for the next chapter. I am slowly saying my goodbyes to the mountains, the ocean, and the people but it’s not for long, I know I will come back to Cape Town. Ultimately, I am refreshed from my summer and ready to graft on my internship in San Francisco and catch some more chilly waves. Luckily, I will be working on the West Coast so the ocean will still be there for me. A summer in San Francisco will distract me from missing Cape Town but I know a piece of my heart will always be in the Mother City regardless.
The first item I reflected on was a blue-white washed stone of Lapis Lazuli which is a stone that vibrates truth and enlightenment. This is why it is known to open the third eye, or the most spiritual zone of the body. I was drawn to this stone in South Africa because it reminded me of the white wash combining with the blue ocean. Sometimes while I am surfing I paddle past breaking waves and watch the blue turn to white mist and refract the sunlight into the brilliant colors of the rainbow. In moments like these, I feel the most content and connected with the great powers of the universe… the sun which lights the way, the moon which creates tides, and the ocean which refreshes the body. The Lapis Lazuli crystal reminds me of the ocean and the spirituality that I get from surfing.
The second item I chose to show was the tiger’s eye crystal because its meanings encompass bringing you courage and self-confidence to overcome fear. It is said the tiger’s eye can transform the toxic energy of fear into confidence. In Cape Town, I regained confidence as well as overcame my fear of big waves by surfing in Kommetjie with big wave ZA surfer- Matt Bromley. So I think this crystal is representative of how brave I was to cross the seas and come to Cape Town as well as in regaining my independence and curiosity for the unknown.
The last item I showed was my leave-in conditioner that I put in my hair every time after I go surfing. This leave-in conditioner represents how I want to let my experiences in Cape Town soak in and become a part of who I am going forward. Cape Town has changed me forever, I am not the same person that arrived in the Mother City 5 months ago. I have learned that life is not that serious. Humor is the highest form of wisdom because you realize that your day to day human problems don’t matter very much when there are glassy waves to ride and a beautiful life to live that was all created for you. There are things greater than us in this universe, far beyond our understanding. Beyond the waves, I learned about and was immersed in the politically active and ‘game changing’ student body that sparked and won the Rhodes Must Fall movement.
The movement focused on the problems UCT students that lived in townships faced from transportation to class because dorms were full, superfluous university fees, and the epistemic violence students face by seeing their white oppressors in paintings around the university. Students from townships had to spend anywhere from 1-3 hours just to commute to campus which was common because many UCT dorms were filled by white or international students. Also, the Fees Must Fall movement and walk-in to an administration meeting also were borne from the issue of UCT overcharging fees which many township and black students could not afford. Lastly, perhaps the most relevant to the Rhodes Must Fall movement is the epistemic violence that black students feel everyday as white superiors and figures of imperialism dictate the names of their classrooms, buildings, and the artwork around them. This is why the paintings of white administrators that supported apartheid or benefited from imperialism in the UCT library were burned as a political statement and similarly a township student threw feces at the Rhodes statue. Furthermore, these student issues ignited supporters of the Rhodes Must Fall movement to risk their lives and even go to jail to protest outside of government buildings. Personally, I admire this bravery and now understand how the movement caused so must trouble as well as tangible change, by focusing on the simple day to day issues of black UCT students.
Reflecting on how the waves and diversity as well as social activism in Cape Town impacted me I feel inspired to ignite change through social impact in my own communities.
I found myself in the endless summer. I am the endless summer.
Thank you, Cape Town.