Our first week in Durban was mind-blowing. We stayed at the Windermere, a beautiful apartment right across the street from the ocean. Every morning we would wake up with the sun (around 5:30 unfortunately), go down to the beach, run and swim, and then get picked up at 7:30. Three SIT vans would scoop us up and we would make our way to the Atrium, where our classes are held, grabbing breakfast along the way. Each day we did a different activity: we visited the Phansi museum , had lunch at Freedom Cafe, visited Mandela's capture site and started our Zulu lessons. After class we would head straight to the beach. We would finish the day by buying wine and dinner supplies and picnicking back at our apartment. Needless to say, life was good.
The Phansi Museum was amazing. The sweetest lady showed us around the tiny space they use as a home for all of these beautiful Zulu treasures. Drums made of cow hide, hats made of human hair, and leather skirts abound. She taught us all about the fertility dolls that young girls carry around until they meet their future husband (upon which they give the doll to him in a gesture of their commitment). She taught us the proper way to sneak beer and how to dance with a beaded stick. If you are ever in Durban, you must visit!
Then we visited Mandela's capture site, about an hour and half outside of Durban. There isn't much there besides a small museum, that beautiful sculpture, and a plaque at the exact spot he was captured. He had been working undercover as a gardener when he was captured. He was put on trial; it was then that he uttered his famous words, "I have fought against black domination... It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” He was not given the death penalty, but was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.