Friday, March 8, 2019

We started off our day by visiting the Voortrekker Monument. This monument contained an abundant amount of symbolism in regards to the Boer pioneers (which included the combination of British, German, and Dutch) settling in South Africa in the 1800’s. Construction for the granite monument took 11 years and was inaugurated on December 16th, 1949. The Voortrekker Monument is architecturally designed around the “Cenotaph”, which is a remembrance of the pioneers who died in the battles with the African Natives during the Great Trek. These battles created a great divide between races in South Africa.  We all thought this was an incredibly interesting monument to visit and to learn more about the settlement of the Boer’s in South Africa. We later saw pictures of the Voortrekker Monument at the Apartheid Museum.  Apartheid began in 1948.

                After visiting the Voortrekker Monument, we went to the Apartheid Museum. Apartheid was a political and social system in South Africa that separated the white race from other races. Apartheid took place from 1948 through the early 1990’s. It was an eye-opening experience for all of us to learn about a tough piece of South African history that still is a sensitive topic for people of all races in South Africa. The Parliament divided the country into four different racial categories: White’s, Native’s, Indian’s and Colored people (people of mixed race). We learned that Nelson Mandela was a South African hero for helping to end Apartheid and unifying the different groups of people in South Africa once again. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum, but we all had great discussions about our visit on the bus ride afterward.

                Finally, to end the day we went to the Agricultural Research Council Vegetable and Ornamental Plants farm. We listened to an ARC leader talk about his research regarding different types of soil media such as sawdust shavings. Amaranth and Swisschard were the two different types of plants used in this research. After our presentation, we toured the hydroponics lab where picante peppers were grown. In the first building containing peppers there were fans continuously blowing to keep the plants cool. The other side of the project was another building containing picante peppers that were located under a shaded net. We were able to compare the cool temperature peppers and the shaded pepper, and the cool environment seemed to create an overall more consistent looking pepper. The ARC also has fish that naturally fertilize the plants and help them grow more efficient. Furthermore, we learned the ARC grows rare medicinal plants such as native ginger.

                The group is also very sad as it is our last night here in South Africa. We have had such an amazing time here interacting with the locals, learning a new culture, and touring farms that are similar yet also quite different in many aspects. We are checking out of our hotel early tomorrow so were spending the evening hanging out and packing for our long trek back to the snowy Midwest!

Lekker slaap (goodnight in Afrikaner)!

Jacquelyn Farniok and Leslie Zubke

One of our hosts at the ARC explaining their vegetable research.

A greenhouse where the fish are kept at the ARC research station.

A pepper plant at the ARC research station.

More peppers!!

Our group along the steps in front of the Voortrekker Monument.

The Voortrekker Monument.

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