Saturday, December 13, 2014


South Africa went through decades of “Apartheid”, when the blacks were segregated from the whites.  Many years of violent struggle ensured.  Eventually, however, through the efforts of people like Nelson Mandela and F. W. De Klerk, Apartheid was peacefully dismantled.  Since then, South Africa has made tremendous progress, even though many social problems remain.  Perhaps it is because of this historical and cultural background, many South African universities are very active in social engagement and service-learning.  At the TNLC conference, I learned a lot from them, and made a lot of new friends, with many potential opportunities for collaborative projects, in South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, ...  

The conference dinner was held at the storied vineyard Solms-Delta.  A professor inherited a vineyard,  on which several black families worked and lived.  He mortgaged his land, and helped the families purchased an adjacent piece of land.  They then combined the land and created a big vineyard.  With the income, the families are able to send the children to school.  Many learned to play music, and there are now dozens of musicians on the land.  

Before we had dinner, professor Mark Solms told us his side of the story and introduced one of the bands.  Later, we danced to their music.  While we were dining, drinking and dancing, the world’s problems seemed far away.

It is a heart-warming story of reconciliation.  

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