Written by Julia Hoffmann & François Firket.
Today we had a first piece of South African soul. After a nice breakfast, we left by train to the city in order to visit the office of the UTRS – Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students – looking at all the programs which this organisation has developped to answer the needs of young refugees in South African higher education. During a presentation by UTRS, we learned to understand the difficulties, particularly financial, which refugees are facing when they want to study in South Africa. This organisation supports refugee students throughout the academic year to avoid the risk of having them drop out of their studies due to financial concerns. In addition, it tries to change education policies in South Africa to provide some help to refugee students. Finally, after their studies many refugee students experience difficulties to find a place to work. So UTRS assissts the graduated refugees in finding jobs.
After the visit we experienced a very relaxing afternoon and headed up to the centre of the city. There we passed through some souvenir shops before discovering the amazing view of Table Mountain under Capetownian sunshine. This cathedral of rock is dwarfing the city and making an impression on anyone looking up from anywhere. All the communities are colouring the busy streets through their daily activities.
Before getting to the fortress, Mandela’s face on public posters reminds anyone of the path to freedom. This road away from apartheid which the South Africans underwent and resulted in a society where anyone regardless of the colour of his skin is having equal rights. We will see in the next days to which extent this ideal has been realised.
Some more pictures of the day: