clock November 24, 2009
author Chris Sopa

Ke Bona Lesedi

For our last and final blog entry, we felt we needed a name to sum up our experience here.  “Ke Bona Lesedi” means “I See the Light” and this seems to be extremely fitting for what Tina and I experienced personally while in this beautiful country.  South Africa has been an experience beyond belief for the both of us.  Beautiful people, breath-taking scenery and a feel of love and unity that you cannot seem to put a word to….you only can experience.  We truly feeling this is a “place of light” and will continue to be as we all build a new future for ourselves in this new world.

This morning Tina and I packed up and called our friend Gerard who was the driver that took us to Mabula where we had our safari.  We were looking forward to leaving the Arctic and just getting WARM in his van!  We told Gerard that since our flight back to the States did not leave until 9pm that we wanted to squeeze as much in as possible before our flight.  He was more than willing to accommodate us since he still was feeling bad about the “bathroom” incident!  (Reminder:  Tina having to “use the facilities” off the side of the freeway on our way back from Mabula!)

“The Arctic Zone”

Chris, Gerard and Tina

We made our first stop at SANBS where we said our good-byes to all of our now life-long friends who made our stay so wonderful here by being such gracious hosts.  Tina and I both agree that we cannot thank them enough for all that they did for us while we were here.  The hospitality that was shown to us was beyond anything I have experienced in all of my travels.  The individuals we met will definitely be part of our lives as we all move forward personally and professionally.

The SANBS group

Tina and I have been wanting to see and learn about the many different cultures that exist here which are hard to really experience while you are in the big cities.  Gerard thought it would be a good idea to take us to the cultural village of Lesedi which means “place of light.”  Their moto is “Our culture is the light of our nation.  Whoever walks here amoungst our cultures in Lesedi can also see the light.”  We were running a bit late due to traffic (we have been forgetting to mention that the reason we are running into so much traffic everywhere we go is due to the fact that South Africa is hosting the World Cup in 2010 so they are doing some major construction on their road systems.) and Gerard thought that we may have missed the start of the tour. When we arrived they had not started yet and Gerard said that Tina and I had “Muti.”  Muti is a form of luck that can be good or bad and while in South Africa Tina and I have most definitely experienced GOOD Muti…from our timing, to the weather to the wonderful people we have had the privilege to meet!

Lesedi entrance

When you visit Lesedi it is like you are actually walking into the villages of the different cultures.  The people who work there live there and stay in character so you can get the real feeling of what life is like living in that culture. We found out that you can actually stay overnight in a hut in each of the villages as well.  Definitely something on the agenda for our next visit!   The 4 cultures we learned about were the Zulu, Xhoso, Bashoto and Pedi.  All of the cultures have such unique histories and customs.

How a Zulu woman dresses if she is single…Chris’ mind wheels were turning!

A little Zulu friend

Since Tina and I were flying home today, they showed us a Zulu custom called “Isivivane” which means “the good luck stone.”  The Zulu keep a pile of stones in their village and when someone is traveling on a journey away from the village, they are to find a stone (the bigger the stone the better the luck!), spit on the stone and then throw it into the pile.  This is to propitiate the spirits and bring good fortune to the traveler on their journey.  Of course, Tina and I spit away!!

Tina putting her “spit rock” in the pile!

Tina and I with the Zulu chief

After touring all 4 villages, we were treated to an amazing dance show where all of the cultures showed us their traditional dances in their traditional dress.  WOW!!  Of course at the end of the show, we all got to get up and dance and Tina and I put on the “white girl” moves once again!!!

How the ladies dance

How the men dance

After a delicious, traditional African lunch we tried our luck at the Apartheid Museum but found out that they are closed on Monday so we headed to the airport early.  Tina and I did some more shopping (we had 400 Rand left and decided to just spend it rather than exchange it for dollars!) and then had our last meal in South Africa….beer and nachos!!  We reminisced about the wonderful experience we both had, how grateful we were to have each other’s company and how this trip has changed us both forever.

Not the bean option on the menu….

This is a trip I know I will truly NEVER forget and am so grateful for the many “synchronistic” events that had to happen to make this possible.  My daughter pointed out to me before I left that Africa has been on my vision board in my office for a few years now and I believe that truly shows the power of the universe in helping us manifest our dreams.

Tina and I would like to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts to all of you who followed our blog throughout this trip.  We hope you had as good a time reading it as we did writing it.  It was such a beautiful way for us recap each day we experienced here and show you firsthand how beautiful the people of this country are.  We have discussed taking our blog entries and adding some inspirational messages to each day and creating a book out of the experience.

And to the beautiful country of South Africa which we now refer to as our “second home”…good-bye for now and what you taught us will forever live in our hearts.