Mail from South Africa

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He Hi!

Now I have been in Africa for two days, and i has been great!

The day I arrived, my mother and I went shopping in Cape Town. It was a lot of fancy clothes there, and my credit card went warm! Well, that's not so strange, it was almost 40 degrees outside! I bought some cultural African clothes and other stuff. Afterwards we went to a township and met some poor people who lived under terrible conditions!! They lived in shacks with no water, no electricity and barely any food. Everyone slept in the same room, and they were incredibly thin. Poor people! In South Africa, the difference between rich and poor is among the biggest in the world! It made me think how lucky I am, living in Norway!
Yesterday, we were at the world-famous prison at Robben Island. The distance from Cape Town Harbour to Robben Island is 13 kilometers by boat. This was the place the political prisoners were sent during the apartheid government. At Robben Island there were seven blocks, and political leaders were held in Section B. They could not make contact with each other, because the walls were at least two feet thick. They slept on the floor with three thin blankets and a single straw mat. There were no toilets, and if they wanted to relieve themselves, they had to use buckets. The prisoners had to clean the buckets themselves with their bare hands. Each cell had a white card with their names and prison numbers.


Two famous prisoners held at Robben Island were Robert Sobukwe and Nelson Mandela. Sobukwe was arrested in Johannesburg and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was under house arrest for six years and then held in Section B, cell number six. He died in 1978. Everybody knows the story about Nelson Mandela. He was in jail for many years because he was fighting for the blacks' rights. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment. He was in jail at Robben Island for 17 years, until 1982, when he was moved to another prison. He was released in 1990. He says, when he arrived there, the cold wind whipping trough his thin uniform gave him an unpleasant welcome. If his family wanted to visit him, they had to book six months in advance, and he was only allowed two prisoners per year. In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Peace price together with the white president of South Africa, Frederik Willem de Klerk, and in 1994 he was elected the first black president of South Africa. He retired in 1999.
I learned a lot on this day, and I think I was really lucky getting the opportunity to get there. I'm so glad it wasn't me!
Tomorrow we are heading east towards Johannesburg, wherewe are going to be on a safari for about a week. I'm looking forward to be out in the bush, watch lions, hyenas, zebras and maybe a leopard if we are lucky. It's going to be so fun!
With Love, 
Marthe Linnea.


A personal letter where you manage to use your knowledge about South Africa in a good way! The language is fluent and varied – good! Take care to look at the things I’ve pointed out.

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