Today I have been a black person, or rather, a non-white individual. Entering the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg I realized that the ticket I got in the ticket booth randomly had made me “non-white” – more or less in the same way Mother Nature made me white when I was born.
I have been to the Apartheid Museum, I have read the posters on the wall, seen the footage from the South African history, watched the documentary about this country’s pre-apartheid past, I have listen to the guide and even got some extra input from some knowledgeable South-Africans that were with the group on the tour – and I still can’t understand how anyone would want to separate human beings because of the skin colour.
Of course there is an intellectual explanation; culture, history, politics, greed, lack of knowledge and in some cases down-right evil, but the whole idea of apartheid strikes me as totally madness, working with the diverse and multi-coloured group of Mr Gay World delegates here in Johannesburg.
The Executive Producer of MGW 2012 Coenie Kukkuk reminded us all at the press conference the first day that you either respect human rights, or you don’t. You can pick and choose those human rights you want to support. Gay right are human rights, let us not forget that.
Learning more about Nelson Mandela’s background, upbringing and life I also realized that there is nothing in the world that can tell you if a person is going to become a great leader or not. This man is such an hero and if any one of my all-time heroes.
After walking through the Apartheid Museum and later the contemporary exhibition showing the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela I came to the poster where bishop Desmond Tutu watching TV, witnessing Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 1993, I have had enough and I could feel the tears running down my chin.
After the visit to the Apartheid Museum the MGW Delegates, producers, directors and jurors visited Nkosi’s Haven, an orphanage for children who are HIV positive or who have lost their mothers to AIDS. The Delegates brought books from back home to the home’s library, and interacted with the children – or I should rather say the children interacted with us.
I have to be honest, I feared it was going to be one of those “goodwill-ambassador-Oprah-Winfrey-moments”, especially since all the children were lined up and singing as we arrived. I was wrong. The moment the Delegates and children met in the living room, books were handed over and they started to dance and play together something beautiful happened. I don’t really know who was the cutest, the childish Delegates or the children.
Today has been a very emotional day – but absolutely another day to remember. Tomorrow is the big finale – tomorrow MGW will have a new spokesperson, a new role model and a new hero!