Why did I go to South Africa? The answer to that question has changed dramatically since I left for Durban on August 20th. I went to South Africa to focus on the racial history of the country to get an international perspective on race. I spent some time intentionally pondering race in South Africa but not as much as I thought I would. Instead I jumped head first into trying to figure out everything about the country. What I mean is, I thought I would spend all my time learning about Black and white relations, but I learned about informal housing settlements, the education system, and resource distribution within the country that is impacted by race along with so many other factors within the government. I received so much more of a broad overview of the country than I had anticipated or planned.
I did not intentionally go to South Africa to figure out my seminary goals and aspirations but that is exactly what I spent most of my time doing. I now know that I want to go into church ministry. I realize that God’s people are the Church so if I want to impact the world for Jesus then I need to get with His people. Although the Church is not the only way to do ministry, it is the place for me and I realized this in South Africa.
I did not expect to care about the environment especially water accessibility but now I do. I know that it is a privilege to turn on the faucet and have water especially hot water come out of it. Everyone around the world does not have this privilege for various reasons whether it’s the area they’re in doesn’t have adequate piping or they are in a drought, water accessibility is a privilege.
I never expected to fall in love with the Zulu language, people and culture but I did. My one regret from my time in South Africa is that I did not finish learning Zulu but to be honest there was no time. So that just means I have to return with the sole purpose of learning Zulu. But as evidenced by this blog even if I return just to learn Zulu I’m sure I will learn so much more about South Africa and myself.
It is strange to be going back. Now as I focus on returning I think back on my original reasons for coming to South Africa. I had no idea that in going to South Africa I would confirm my seminary aspirations, learn more about myself and how I fit into the world and fall in love with the most beautiful country I’ve ever been to.
South Africa was my first experience outside of the U.S. and the country is far from perfect but truly a piece of my soul is now in South Africa. Just as a part of Winnie Mandela’s soul was with Nelson Mandela while he was in prison, my soul is with the lovely and beautiful South Africa.