Today we took somewhat of an academic break and did some more relaxing things: shopping and visiting the Second New Year Parade here in Capetown.
Getting the opportunity to do some mall shopping was a great way to begin the day. It was really cool to see the mall because I always like to see how people in other countries enjoy their shopping experiences and compare them to malls back home in America. The mall we visited was very large, and I liked it because it had familiar stores like H&M and Guess. I also noticed how the familiar shops here in Capetown had better clothing than the ones back in America which is always nice. There were also quite a few shops that promoted South African designers and produced everything in their shop in South Africa as opposed to getting their products imported from somewhere else. I purchased from one of those shops (a store called Young Designer Emporium) in order to help support the South African designers. I thought this was important because I think it’s a great thing for a country to promote its own people instead of constantly importing from elsewhere. The United States hardly produces anything of its own anymore, and I think that takes away from the value of certain things. Essentially, I thought it was nice to see a group of people supporting each other and their art. That kind of support can be difficult to come by back home.
Spending time at the Second New Year parade was also a nice experience. I really enjoyed the open atmosphere. Parades back in the United States are usually more formal (you wouldn’t see random people walking amongst the floats/people at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), so I thought it was a really cool and laid back environment. I also loved how proud and confident the people in the parade were. They were elated when we asked to take pictures of them, and many of them yelled to us while they were marching along to take pictures of them. Everyone was very friendly, and I was very intrigued by the colorful costumes. The children in the parade were also a highlight because so many of them seemed so excited and were really enjoying dancing to the music while they marched ahead. I think this parade is such a great way to celebrate the new year, and I’m grateful that I got to see this extremely well-known and popular parade with my own eyes instead of having to rely on someone else’s perspective or information about it on the internet. Another thing this parade reminds me of is Juneteenth, which is known in America as the African American “Independence Day.” The slaves in America were actually freed on June 19th, 1865, so instead of July 4th, many African Americans celebrate Juneteenth out of respect for their ancestors and their inability to celebrate independence on the 4th of July. Going to this parade helped me realize that there can always be connections made between cultures, even when the different cultures exist in totality different places.