It’s Monday afternoon and we’ll be headed to the airport shortly to head home to the States, so I wanted to take some time out to catch you up on our weekend!
We finally had a chance to check out our show venue, Standard Bank Arena, during sound check on Saturday. After a week packed with sightseeing and media appearances, it felt really good to finally get on stage with the band!
I have to tell you – our fans at the shows in Johannesburg really blew me away. From the minute we took the stage, the arena was electrified with their energy. When I tell you that they sang every word of every song that we performed, I mean – they sang every word, even to ‘Golden Days.’ We always have fans singing along with a lot of songs at our shows, but I don’t think I remember any other audience ever singing every word, including the scatting parts, to ‘Golden Days.’ It was amazing, and it was powerful.
Before the show, it was brought to my attention that there was a young man in the audience who wanted to propose to his girlfriend. In the middle of ‘Share My Life,’ the spotlights were turned on them, and he proposed. I have to give him a lot of credit, because I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to get down on one knee in front of a whole crowd! I wish them both a lifetime of love and happiness.
After the shows on Saturday and Sunday, we headed out to our photo booth to take pictures with some of the fans, which we generally do after all of our shows. We were told that this type of thing was pretty much unheard of in South Africa, and that they rarely, if ever, have the chance to meet American performers in person there. It was so humbling to hear how appreciative they all were for the chance to take photos.
All in all, the two concerts went by way too quickly, and I would’ve loved to stay in the country and perform in more cities. We’ll do everything we can do to make that happen the next time we go there.
Our flight out of Johannesburg isn’t scheduled to leave until late this evening, so we decided to do a bit more sightseeing and touring earlier today. We headed out from the hotel for a trip to Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Constitution Hill is the home of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, which is built at the site of the Old Fort Prison Complex, as a symbol to show that the pains of the country’s past can be transformed into hope and a better future.
The infamous Old Fort Prison Complex or ‘Number Four,’ is known for the horrible brutalities and injustices against non-white criminal and political prisoners that took place there during the Apartheid Era – as recently as the early ‘80s. Our tour guide told us some of the horror stories of how the prisoners were treated, and there are signs throughout that tell some of the prisoners’ stories. Needless to say, the tour was both powerful and haunting.
Two of the most notable people to be imprisoned there were Mahatma Gandhi in 1906 and Nelson Mandela in 1962. As you enter the prison, Mandela’s and Gandhi’s words are inscribed on the walls.
"It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones – and South Africa treated its imprisoned African citizens like animals." – Nelson Mandela
“Truly speaking, it was after I went to South Africa that I became what I am now. My love for South Africa and my concern for her problems are no less than for India.” – Mahatma Gandhi
After the prison tour, we drove around and saw a few sights, stopped at a great restaurant for lunch (Moyo), and soon we’ll be headed to the airport to catch our flight home.
We had a wonderful time throughout our entire week, and it’s my hope that we’ll have another trip here soon!
Thanks so much to EBONY for helping me to share the stories of our South Africa journey!