I am extremely thankful to Dr. Jez for opening up her South African world to us. Most specifically, her group of amazing friends. In Johannesburg, we met and had a chance to interact with Niki, Essie and Liemo. In Cape Town, we were introduced to Marcia and met the CPUT students.
Niki and Essie – without hesitation, this beautiful couple opened up their home to this motley crew of University of San Diego students for a traditional South African braai. They prepared a feast of meats, salads, and side dishes. Essie shared her bottles of Ugandan rum that she is only able to procure from her home country and she prepared delicious home cooked pap and baked beans. They also hung out with the group on two other nights. Who does this?
Liemo – instant friend. We also had the good fortune of spending time with Liemo, a South African transplant from Lesotho and Mozambique. Liemo has a wonderful personality and in the first interactions with her, you feel as if you have known her for years. Her openness and kindness again made the concept of Ubuntu completely tangible and concrete.
Mariyeni – instant colleague. We met Mariyeni at Wits and instantly connected as fellow grad students. I saw in Mariyeni a passion for her studies and a desire to connect with other similar minded individuals. She was approachable and kind and I would have loved to have spent more time getting to know her and her scholarly pursuits.
CPUT Students – instant bond. To sum it up: Yesssssss! No further explanation is needed.
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia – instant friends and a sense of openness that you could share anything and not be judged.
While it may seem like a recurring, repetitive theme, it is true. Marcia, like Liemo and the CPUT students were so open and kind and fun that it was very easy to connect and hang out with them. These people and their humanity made my South African experience so much more poignant and worthwhile.