Film for Therapy

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Something has recently happened in my life which I really struggled with for a long time. I finally found the courage and strength to lose the masses of weight I seemed to put on over night. Which is a great feeling. It’s a great feeling not only because I’m finally doing something about it, but it’s a great feeling because I gave myself that push. The Video Art installation I made about my body really put things in perspective. It made me realize how easy it is to just join a gym, eat a little healthier, go for a run etc. I guess I was afraid of what people would think of me, but after making my film and watching it, watching myself shout at myself, it really helped build a bit of that confidence I lost. It’s amazing, because I made this film for an audience but it really made an impression on myself and how I perceived myself. Self perception is an amazing and therapeutic way of dealing with underlining issues. I think I will work more on self perception because if my film did this to me, what could it do to the people who watch it? Onwards and upwards. 

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The Long Walk to Freedom

This experiment was made using the footage from Cape Town. My original idea was to create a multi-screen installation about the tear between the wealthy and the poor, but I didn’t really have the footage I was hoping for. I wanted to create something that represented what South Africa stands for today. After the Apartheid was over run. I think war and religion are definitely enemies, but in South Africa they proved to be allies. The people of South Africa stood up against the oppression and fought for what they believed in and in the end, it really paid off. This is just a small project I threw together with what footage had. Although it’s quite simple, for me it has quite a powerful effect and I really believe I achieved my aim when making this video. Rest in Peace Nelson Mandella.

Playing With Cape Town Footage

So today I decided I was going to look through the footage from the Cape Town trip, and I thought what better way to do so than making something? I took footage mainly from the townships because that is what I want my multi screen video to be based around. I also took some footage from the waterfront as I may or may not use them to show how close these places are and how different they are. Anyway, I looked through the footage on Premiere Pro CS6 and pulled some of it out into the sequence. I cut them together and made a small video. I’m not looking to do anything else with it, it was purely to see what I could get from the footage for my multi screen video

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U2 – A Beautiful Day was a perfect song for me to use. My experience of Langa was quite mixed. I saw all of this poverty and destruction, however the public were incredibly happy. Especially the children and I thought this song captured that perfectly.

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I only wanted to make a short video so I shortened the song by cutting half of it out and fading the end out in Adobe Audition.

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This screenshot shows the fade.

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I also faded the video in at the beginning and faded it out at the end.

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This is the final edit.

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After I upload this I’m going to make a start at researching how to present and create a multi screen video installation. Then I plan to make a start on my first project.

Cape Town, South Africa

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When we arrived in Cape Town, the first thing I noticed was the temperature. Wow, was it humid. It was extremely uncomfortable, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It was around thirty degrees Celsius but the humidity was around ninety percent. I did get used to it after an hour or so though. As soon as we out of the airport we got on a coach and made our way to the hotel. We stayed at the Southsun Waterfront, which was really quite beautiful. It had an amazing foyer with marble flooring and a bar that sat directly opposite the entrance.  After a shower and a change of clothes, we made our way down to the waterfront. The waterfront was pretty much Cape Towns major tourist point.

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Map of the waterfront.

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This is the huge Ferris Wheel in the centre of the waterfront. It stands just outside the mall.

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Getting into the Christmas spirit.

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View of Table Mountain from the mall balcony.

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I took this picture from the balcony of the mall. I wanted to take some shots of people as they enjoyed their holiday. I’m not sure who these people are, but I assume they’re a couple.

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Dutch Clocktower.

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Seals!

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Cape Town.

The next day we went to the coastal town of Hermanus, which is extremely famous for the Southern Right Whale population. We got the opportunity to do some whale watching as we had some free time. As soon as we arrived we spotted one, however it was really far away. I was quite upset because this is the one thing I looked forward too the most on the whole trip. What an amazing experience it would be to see these huge creatures up close. I was actually under the impression we would be going on a boat to see them, but this wasn’t the case as it was too expensive. After attempting to photograph the mile away whale, we went to a museum to try and learn a bit about the whales. The museum itself was quite small, but they had this huge whale sculpture in the yard. After the museum, we decided to get some food and get back to the whale watching at a later time. We found a nice restaurant, ate lunch and had a look around the town. I decided to leave the group a little early and get back to the whale watching. I’m extremely glad that I did because what I saw was unbelievable. I made my way down to a rock edge and sat down, and I didn’t have to wait long before a family of five whales got really close. They were huge! It was an incredible experience to see them this close, I could practically reach out and touch them. I was happy with what I saw, but as they got closer, they made their way out to deeper waters to dive. And then all of a sudden a baby whale comes leaping out of the ocean and crashing straight back down. Then the mother joined in. For about thirty minutes these two whales were competing with each other to see who could jump the highest and when I thought it couldn’t get any better, they waved!! They actually waved at us! And as we clapped, they both jumped out of the water together as kind of an exit. It was such an amazing experience. I would love to go back to Hermanus, in fact I think I will retire there.

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Baboons in the area.

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Beautiful view.

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Whale sculpture!

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Mile away whale.

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This is the rock I sat at.

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Nice weather.

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They’re closing in!

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There’s another!

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So close!

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Amazing!

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Much wow!

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Take a dive.

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This is when they jumped out at the same time. I really wish I framed this shot a bit better.

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Rolling over to wave.

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This was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. This huge creature of the sea was interacting with us and communicating with us.

Not long after the whale show, we had to leave. We had to leave to go to some garden, which I wan’t to pleased about to start with. However, when we got there, it was stunning. It was right up in the mountains so it was quite misty, but the atmosphere was quite beautiful. I noticed the silence first. It was so quiet. The only thing I could hear was my own breathing. The best part about the garden however was the view of the mountains. They resembled live a V shaped valley and the fog was cascading down them like a waterfall. I took some photos of some flowers and wildlife too.

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Pond.

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Not sure what the flowers are called, but look at those colours!

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Mountains.

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Froggy.

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Close ups!

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More close ups!

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Mountains. You can’t really see the fog dripping from the mountain on the photograph.

The day was over, but what an amazing day it was. It’s a little early in this post to say, but that was by far my favourite. It was such an amazing experience and if you haven’t been to Hermanus to see the whales, I highly recommend you book a ticket right now, get on a plane and fly there. It will blow you away.

The next day we went to the Castle of Good hope and toured the grounds. We saw quite a lot in the castle to be honest. We saw the changing of the guards, changing of the ducks, a torture chamber and some nice views of Cape Town. After the castle we went to a natural history museum. The museum was quite good, though I do like museums, especially natural history. The most interesting thing was the fossils, as they had a lot of real prehistoric fossils on display, they also had an observatory, which was closed at the time we arrived. That was quite disappointing. We then visited the neighbourhood of Bo Kaap in Cape Town. Bo Kaap is a Muslim populated area, but the difference and significance of this neighbourhood was the houses. Every house was painted a different colour, and is the most colourful neighbourhood in all of South Africa. The Muslims paint their houses a different colour every year during a festival.

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I like this image. This was a man enjoying his morning coffee as he watched the ducks on the castle grounds.

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The guards liked to show off.

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Nice view of the city. The weather wasn’t great though.

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Inside the castle. The seats are there for the tourists to watch the Military Tattoo and the changing of the guards.

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The museum was quite dark and poorly lit for photography, however the stuffed animals made quite an impression.

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Bo Kaap.

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Colourful Kaap.

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I think this is quite a powerful image. Even though Cape Town is quite beautiful and very westernised in terms of culture. It is still a third world country and it is quite hard to remember that when you’re admiring the views.

The next day for me was the worst day of the trip. It was heartbreaking. We visited a township called Langa. We toured the area and saw the where the people lived. I wanted to take more photographs of Langa, but I was shooting it. We walked around the streets and saw the awful conditions in which the Afrikaans lived. A woman was even kind enough to let us tour her house. The house was really old and had a gas stove, an old wooden door that was rotted and some of the windows were broken. She also had a lot of children. It was quite upsetting to see these innocent people who had been oppressed so much in the past, that it still takes a toll on them today. We then visited a school. The first thing I noticed about the school was that it was surrounded by a barbed wire fence. It looked more like a prison or a concentration camp than a children’s school. when we entered the building, there was only one classroom with maybe 30-40 children inside. They were singing nursery rhymes, but then I found out why the school had barbed wire fencing. Two weeks prior to our arrival in South Africa, two children aged five were brutally raped and murdered by five fully grown men. Their bodies were cast out with the garbage. The children sang a song I will remember for the rest of my life.

“This is my body,

From head to toe.

Do not touch my body.”

It’s a horrible world when children have to learn about the severe dangers of rape and murder through a nursery rhyme. It seemed so normal to them, but it was heartbreaking to see that. We decided as a group that we would sing a nursery rhyme to them as they did such a good job at singing to us. So we sang and they sang with us. The kids were fascinated by our cameras and by us. They kept climbing us like climbing frames and asking for photo’s to be taken. We spent quite a while playing with the children in the township and it is an experience that will stay with me and continue to break my heart forever.

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Little girl loves the camera.

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Best friends.

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It’s awful to see something like this.

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Another camera lover.

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“This is my body.”

The next day we did something I wasn’t really in to, wine tasting. I am however glad I went because I captured my best image on this day trip. The vineyard was called the Blaauwkipen Wine Centre, which makes and imports wine all over the world. Including the UK. In fact you will find their wine in major supermarkets such as Tesco or Asda. We tasted a few wines, well I didn’t. I just secretly poured all of mine into the spit bucket. I’ve never been a wine drinker, I actually hate the stuff.

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Wine Centre.

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There were these beautiful willows that arched over this old car and I took a picture, I didn’t think I would get a result like this though. I love the way the light bounced of the car and is blocked by the trees. I love how this could be interpreted as something bad, like a rapist hiding and waiting. When really, it was just the car of an employee.

In the afternoon we visited Robben Island. Robben Island is home to the Robben Island Maximum Security Prison. The prison where Nelson Mandela spent eighteen years of his life. It took around forty five minutes for the boat to take us there. As soon as we arrived we got on a coach that took us around the island before entering the prison. We saw the light house, school and the church. After our tour we made our way to the prison. The prison tour for me wasn’t what I expected. at all. I wanted to tour the whole prison, but we only saw a few rooms. Our tour guide was actually an ex-prisoner who was imprisoned for terrorism. He told us about the oppression between the whites, colours and blacks. The white and coloured people were treated not as prisoners, but as citizens of South Africa, whereas the blacks were treated as animals. We also got a chance to see the cell where Nelson Mandela, South African hero, spend eighteen years of his life.

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On the boat we saw this huge tanker.

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Our boats name.

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View of Cape Town from the Island.

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Our ex-prisoner tour guide.

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This board he is holding showed just how bad the oppression was. In the winter the whites and coloured inmates wore long sleeved shirts and shoes. However the black inmates wore short sleeved shirts and had no shoes. The blacks also had no windows, and with the snowfall and rain, it made living conditions extremely difficult for them. Some people even died.

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Prison gates.

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Nelson Mandela’s cell.

The next day we toured a few places around the Western Cape. The first place we visited was District Six. District six was the home to 60,000 Afrikaans until they were forcibly removed by the apartheid in the 1970’s. We toured the wasteland on the coach and then went to a museum where they had the street signs on display. The signs were stolen by a man when the apartheid removed it’s inhabitance and destroyed the area. They street signs were then returned to the people when the museum opened. They now sit on display as a reminder of the home these people once had. We also visited Cape Point. Cape Point is the southern most point of South Africa and is also where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Cape Point was one hell of a walk. We spent a few hours there. We had lunch and played with the wild life. There were loads of these black birds that seemed to be fearless. One flew into my head. After lunch I decided to walk up to Cape Point for the view. It was beautiful. It was a clear day too so you could see pretty far out to see. We then took a boat out the the infamous Seal Island. I was hoping to see some great white sharks, but there was no such luck. I am a huge fan of seals so it was still pretty good. There was so many too! They all sat on this rock bathing in the sun. The last place we visited was a penguin sanctuary, it’s the home of nearly 10,000 South African penguins. I didn’t see that many as the time was hunting time. I did however see a male penguin dancing for a female. The female chased him, attacked him and he fell over and urinated all over himself. It was quite brutal in terms of rejection.

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Street signs.

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And again.

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Amazing view.

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So beautiful.

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Cape point!

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Light house!

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Indian and Atlantic meeting.

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Seal Island.

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Mesmerised by seagulls.

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Penguin!

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So many!

The final thing we did was visit Table Mountain. We were supposed to go up earlier in the week but couldn’t due to the weather. We go to the mountain and got in straight away. We got on the cable car as fast as we got there. The cable car was a little unsettling as it rotated as it climbed further up the mountain. When we got the the top, it was kind of like a garden. It was pretty big too. Not as big as it looks from below, but still pretty impressive. The view however, was incredible. we could see the whole of Cape Town and beyond from the top.

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Cape Town!

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Beyond.

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Spectacular view of the mountains.

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Cape Town again!

It was sad to leave at the same time as being a relief. I as missing home and my own bed quite badly. My experience in South Africa is something I will carry with me forever. It is amazing to see a culture who has nothing be so happy. A westernised world yet a third world country. I will revisit South Africa one day. I want to see more of it and spend more time admiring their culture. I absolutely loved every second of my experience here and I cannot wait to come back.

Johannesburg, South Africa

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South Africa. I’m currently lost for words because I am still in awe from the beauty of this magnificent country. When I received the phone call I was instantly filled with excitement. I was drowning in it. I had never been as far as Europe before so not only was this a new country for me, it was also a new continent. I actually packed my bags the day I was told I could go and that was two weeks before we departed. When the day arrived, I had no sleep because I couldn’t control my excitement. I actually found myself spending hours on the internet looking at the places we visited, the culture and I watched a documentary or two about Nelson Mandela. I didn’t want to enter a new country with no knowledge about it. For some reason I find that extremely ignorant and rude, so I did my research.

When we got to Manchester Airport, I could feel my nerves brewing a little. I’m not afraid of flying, but I find the take off and landing a bit unsettling. We checked in and roughly forty five minutes later, I was in the air on route to London. The flight didn’t really take very long and I managed to get a few pictures of the view of clouds and bright blue sky.

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This is before we took off.

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En route.

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I’m not entirely sure how high we were, but it was still high enough.

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I love the view from above the clouds.

After the first flight I felt much better about flying and I was getting excited about the flight to Johannesburg, even though it was a twelve hour flight. We had a while to wait in Heathrow, so a few of us went to get a bite to eat before being called to the gate. After lunch we were called to the gate and had to wait a while due to a small delay. I thought I would use this time to experiment with the camera I was using. The camera I took with me was a Nikon Coolpix L810. It’s not a great camera, but it has a good zoom and the quality isn’t all that bad. The only flaw is that it’s an automatic camera, which means it has no manual zoom or focus. I didn’t really know how to use this camera, so I played with it and experimented with its features.

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Here I was playing with the auto focus on a black and white setting. I really like the effects I got with these pictures. I took these of people sat waiting to board the plane. The camera was out of focus which distorted the image, however the contrast and lighting from the window gives it a very film noir sort of look.

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Here is another.

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And another.

I spent a bit of time looking at this enormous plane I was anxiously waiting to board. I mean, it was huge. I also managed to take some touristy pictures of the airport and plane, in fact most of my photographs were tourist photo’s. I just didn’t want to have all of my photographs be my attempt at professional/student standard photography work. I wanted to have something to show my friends and family when I returned. I also wanted some pictures to remember my experience.

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Patiently waiting.

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Huge plane.

I didn’t really anticipate how uncomfortable my flight would be. I was hoping to be sat with someone I knew, but when is that ever the case? How naive of me. I was actually sat between a Swedish couple who loved to sleep and snow very loudly and a Doctor Sarah Barber, who is a senior historian at Lancaster University. She was travelling out to Johannesburg to work on burial sights. I thought this was quite interesting. The in-flight meal was just terrible and the breakfast was even worse. I had a sausage and a hockey puck for an egg. I could have broke a window and killed everyone with that thing. I think the best part of that flight though, was the sunrise. It was absolutely beautiful. Everyone had their blinds down except one person who was sat directly across from me. I wish I could kiss that person on the mouth. I would never have seen so many colours in the sky if it wasn’t for that person. So thank you! I attempted to take pictures of it, but my camera decided it didn’t want to work properly.

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Not a very good picture, but you get the idea.

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This one is a bit better.

I had absolutely no sleep on the whole flight, in fact one of my eyes was extremely blood shot and really started to irritate me. When we got off the plane, the first thing I noticed was the climate. It was warm, but not what I expected South African summer to be. i was actually quite relieved because I have really fair skin that burns easily. We got on a coach and off we went! Our tour guide was quite nice and he had a lot of interesting information. We visited quite a lot of places in Johannesburg, the FNB Stadium, the city and finally Soweto. Soweto was this incredible place that really opened your eyes to the oppression and poverty in South Africa. It was an amazing experience to really see how they lived. Soweto was divided into two half’s. The half you lived in depended on your financial state. The ‘rich’ half of Soweto was predominantly made up of small town houses made of what looked like cheap plaster board and cement. I was shocked to hear that this place, this place filled with badly built, small town houses was the rich part. I was actually dreading to see the townships in the area, and I was right to dread. Thousands of shacks made of sheet metal and rotted wood, and more people than you could imagine. It was awful and I can now see why the ‘rich’ part of Soweto id the rich part.

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FNB Stadium. I kind of like this picture, because for some reason the Tickets sign looks as though it has been taken from a cartoon and photoshopped into the picture.

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Johannesburg City.

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This tower was one of the first places we visited. Inside there was a huge wheel on the ground with information about the history of Johannesburg.

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This is the roof of the tower from the inside.

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This is a photo I took of a man playing the recorder for tourists. He was actually quite talented. I gave him some money for the picture.

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Entering Soweto.

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This is the rich part of Soweto.

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Rich part.

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Rich part again. It’s really quite strange to see how these people don’t take money for granted like we do. after seeing this side of Soweto, I really felt quite stupid about the way I treat money. The way we, as a country treat money. It’s amazing how much we, as a westernised culture complain about stupid things like finance, when these people who are supposedly rich, still have nothing.

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Orlando Cooling Towers. These towers are part of the Orlando Power station which as closed down about ten years ago. These towers were built in 1951 to supplement the spray pond cooling system. However, since the plants decommission, these towers are now a popular landmark in Soweto and used as a bungee jump.

It was quite interesting visiting these places, but nothing compared to the next three places we visited. The first of the three is Nelson Mandela’s house. This is where he lived with his first wife in 1946 and his second wife in 1948 before he was captured and imprisoned. Inside the house we saw hundreds of news articles about his rise, fall and eventually his prison sentence and release. He returned to this house when he was released. He lived there for a few years. It was quite an inspirational place. This one man, single handedly changed South Africa’s oppression and went from a terrorist to a hero.

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This is the outside of his house.

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Here I attempted some actual photography, but it didn’t really work.

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These small plaques were all over the inner wall of Mandela’s garden. Each one related to his speeches on the oppression. I may make a small collage of the images I collected.

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This is where Nelson Mandela and both his wife’s slept.

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This is where they cooked and generated heat to warm the house.

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This was quite interesting. This belt was on display inside the house, it actually belonged to Sugar Ray Leonard, world champion boxer. This belt was a gift to Nelson Mandela as he was a huge inspiration to Leonard.

The next place we visited out of the three is a catholic church, however this isn’t just any church. This is the largest Catholic church in all of South Africa. The Regina Mundi means ‘Queen of the World’ in Latin and it was built in 1964. This church is also referred as ‘The Peoples Church’ as it played an important role before and after the anti-aparthied struggle. This catholic church was a place for people to meet and discuss tactics during the struggle against the apartheid. Unfortunately during the Soweto Uprising of June 16, 1976, when hundreds of students were shot by the police, a lot of the protesters fled to the church. The police entered the church and fired live ammunition inside. Luckily, nobody was killed during this attack, but the church had suffered a lot of damage. Though the church had been restored, there are still signs of the terrible shootings that had occurred there.

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This cross was huge. It was around 12 feet tall.

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This is a close up of the mural of Jesus in the center of the church.

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This is another close up.

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This was a small statue that stood at the far end of the church, opposite the entrance. It depicted Mary Magdalene holding the body of Jesus Christ after he had been executed. I really like this image because the lighting from the church windows gives it a heavenly look. The light is coming from above, which lights the body of Jesus Christ, and the darkness of the earth festers below him.

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This is the face of Mary Magdalene. She is praying for the souls that murdered Jesus. The lighting is as if God is listening to her alone.

The final place we visited was a museum. Unfortunately my camera died at this point as I had taken for too many photographs. The museum was called the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum which opened on June 16 2002 to commemorate the Soweto Uprising and the many children that perished from open gunfire by Police in Orlando West. The Soweto Uprising took place on June 16, 1976, when 20,000 students banded together to protest in response of the introduction of Afrikaans, as a medium of instruction in local schools. In response to these protests, police began to open fire with live ammunition at the students, resulting in almost 700 deaths and even more injuries. A news photographer captured the body of thirteen year old Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo, 18 and his sister Antoinette Sithole is running beside them.

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This powerful image was taken by Sam Nzima on June 16, 1976.

After we visited the museum and memorial, it was time to leave Soweto and go to our hotel. I had an incredible time in Johannesburg and a life changing experience. The people of Soweto had suffered so many unnecessary tragedies due to the oppression of Afrikaans. However, one man changed all of that with his persistence. It goes to show that anything is really possible and one person really can change the world if they really try. I believe that persistence is key.

When we got back to the hotel, we all had the chance to sit in an interview with Bernard Spong an Englishman who was directly involved with the anti apartheid movement. He told stories of smuggling people in and out of South Africa, smuggling ammunition for the rebels and being a life long friend to Nelson Mandela. He was an incredible man, and his stories were heartbreaking. Unfortunately, due to my lack of sleep I found it very hard to stay awake. However, next we flew to Cape Town.