Thursday, 15 November 2007

Wednesday 14 November

Arrived very early on Wednesday morning after an all night flight to Johannesburg. It’s very hot and dry here with temperatures hitting the 80 degree mark. Some Africa Water Network delegates are already here and it’s great to see familiar faces from Sierra Leone, Ghana, South Africa and to meet some new people too from Malawi and Uganda.

A lot of us are pretty tired after long journeys, and with others arriving during the day, we have little formal business today, meaning that we have been able to catch up on sleep, ready for a full day of meetings tomorrow.

A few of us took the opportunity to visit the Apartheid Museum which is just round the corner from the hotel. The museum commemorates the struggle against apartheid and tells the story of how the policy came about, through a legacy of colonialism, discovery of precious resources (especially diamonds and gold) which exacerbated fights over land, and a racial segregation policy. The history of British involvement in South Africa is shocking and in the year in which we’ve been remembering the 200th anniversary of the British parliamentary abolition of slavery, the museum is a timely reminder that that act of parliament did not stop British exploitation and racist action around the world. When you arrive at the museum, I as a white was separated from my colleagues from Malawi and Sierra Leone and we had to use different entrances – a reminder of the reality of life under the old apartheid system.

Now its evening and everyone has now safely arrived. We run through the agenda for the next few days and then have an early night – ready for tomorrow’s work.

No comments: