Our second week in Gordon’s Bay was the last week for the sports program we were running for the kids in the local township of Nomzamo. It was a bitter-sweet ending — our final days with the kids being filled with fun chaotic energy and games. One of our favorite days was the last day, since both the teaching staff and the kids gave 110 percent energy and had one of the most fun volleyball and soccer games of the camp. The volleyball games consisted of teachers versus students and everyone would clap and die of laughter whenever we got a good rally in. Both sides showed competitive spirits and participated in friendly banter.
A highlight of the game was when Chloë from the back row jumped up to spike the ball and ended up hitting Chelsea square in the face who was standing in the front row. As Chelsea fell, the kids and teachers surrounded her in a circle to see if she was okay but all started laughing hysterically when they realized she was fine; even Chelsea herself was laughing while grabbing her cheek. For the last game of the camp, everyone joined in for a huge game of soccer with teachers and students mixed up on both teams. Despite most of the teachers not knowing how to really play soccer, everyone went all out and the teachers ended up winning with an awesome goal at the end by Logan who had an assisting pass by Julia.
We all erupted into cheers and huddled, jumping up and down and just being silly and loud. Even the kids joined in despite their loss and we all just enjoyed the moment. We ended with a little goodbye ceremony celebrating the kids who came every day to the camp with a little GVI certificate and paper medal, calling them up by name and applauding them. It was sad to go, but we had fun with the two weeks we had with the kids and hoped they had fun too.
“We all come from diverse backgrounds, each with our own unique histories and upbringings. There are certainly parallels between past and present injustices in the U.S. and South Africa, especially regarding race. As an ACE team, our reflections and reactions to these historical and cultural nuances have been insightful and have made these past few weeks especially meaningful.”
During these past two weekends we have had the opportunity to explore some of the Western Cape’s greatest national treasures, like Cape Point in the Cape of Good Hope, the beaches at Muizenberg, the District 6 museum, the penguin-filled Boulders Beach, Table Mountain, the V & A Waterfront and the city centre of Cape Town, Langa Township, and Bo Kaap to name a few. After visiting the wide variety of sites, we have learned that South Africa is a breathtakingly beautiful country with an incredibly rich and complex history.
What was most shocking about our weekend excursions was the contrast between the impressive natural “wonders” of South Africa like Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope, and the poverty-stricken townships and museums that highlight the long and painful history of apartheid. It was upsetting to learn that only a fraction of the South African population was permitted to enjoy the beautiful beaches or sites in the city centre of Cape Town. Even more upsetting was learning that residents of colour within an entire neighborhood district in Cape Town, District 6, were forcibly removed during the height of apartheid; only white people were authorized to live in the vicinity of the city.
As a group of Duke and Stanford student-athletes, it was fascinating to dissect the mass of information that we were given about South Africa and apartheid. We all come from diverse backgrounds, each with our own unique histories and upbringings. There are certainly parallels between past and present injustices in the U.S. and South Africa, especially regarding race. As an ACE team, our reflections and reactions to these historical and cultural nuances have been insightful and have made these past few weeks especially meaningful.