January 1: Hope in 2019

Today we first went to visit the Cape of Good Hope. The cape is the most southwestern point in the continent of Africa. It was initially not called the Cape of Good Hope, but rather a name related to the concept of frequent storming by the Cape. The Cape was given the name of Good Hope because since lots of commercialism took place there, it was renamed to make it seem more appealing to foreign governors.

The Cape itself was gorgeous. There is a path tourists take along the ridge line as we walk through the Cape. At one point, we reached the light house at Cape Point. At the light house we could see out into where the currents of the Atlantic Ocean meet the Indian Ocean. There was a bit left on the trail after we reached the light house.

On the trail, there was a concern over baboons. There were many signs recommending to not bring food on the trail because it attracts baboons and baboons are very dangerous. Luckily, we did not encounter any of them while hiking the trail.

After walking on the trail on the Cape, we drove over to a Boulders Beach which is part of Table Mountain National Park. At Boulders Beach, we saw penguins, rodents, and different vegetation in the sea water. We explored the “boulders” by the water, enjoyed the sunshine which then turned into rain (a huge plus for Cape Town which is currently experiencing a drought during their summer months), and went swimming in the freezing cold water.

Unlike the days leading up to today, there was not much I did today that is necessarily extremely relevant to my specific area of research during this trip. I will say that there was actually a separate situation that related to my intuition on Nelson Mandela’s viewpoint on hope. I faced an extremely stressful situation today and was able to resolve it by sun fall. Even so, I had obsessive and anxious thoughts related to the situation running through my head throughout the day. While at the Cape, I frequently would think about the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henry. This poem turned out to be Nelson Mandela’s favorite poem because he would frequently refer to it during his incarceration. The poem has a few lines that read as follows:

“It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.”

Mandela would refer to these lines to never give up on hope even in the midst of extreme adversity. While my situation was incomparable to his, I was still able to use this thought process to alleviate the anxiety and rationally discover an effective solution.  Like the title of this blog says, I am truly “experiencing ‘The Spirit of Mandela'” in almost every way here in Cape Town, even in ways I’d prefer not to experience.

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