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To be frank, a large chunk of our South African experience was constricted to a very Western culture and style of living in South Africa. Despite South Africa’s diverse people groups and 11 different official languages. A majority of our interactions were with white Afrikaans or British people who only make up around 10% of the entire South African population. There were several instances where we could interact with other people, like during out isiXohsa language lecture or our service learning sites that we went to 3 times. But those experiences mostly did not lead us to become close to other people. That’s why I was excited to learn that we would have a homestay with a family in the village of Hamakuya. We finally did not have access to any hamburgers or pizza. Instead, we helped our host mom, Constance, cook pap (corn meal), snacked on Baobab fruit, and dined on Mopane worms. We danced on the dirt floor with Constance and the neighboring children and learned how to play Morabaraba with the host dad, Rodney.

I found it slightly ironic that we experienced a mostly Western side of South Africa despite the fact that they make up only 10% in population. This might be because our host school, Stellenbosch University, is still 61% white, and neocolonialism takes shape in capitalistic ventures of fast food and clothing stores. I know one or two students found the Hamakuya experience difficult in food and culture, I treasured this experience of getting to know a loving family and a beautiful culture outside our usual context.

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