Robertsham. After the game we headed out to Ellis Park to watch Bidvest Wits, our affiliated/parent PSL team. The Clever Boys made us proud, knocking off the three-time reigning league champions, SuperSport United, in a convincing 3-0 win.
Graca Machel is known by many from her previous marraige to Nelson Mandela, but she is clearly her own attraction. She represents the rare breed of public speaker that knows how good she is, yet resists the temptation to talk forever! I was privileged to be one of the few fellas in the room as she spoke about the role of women in South African/African society in the coming decade.
On Saturday I coached my last games with Wits F.C. Juniors (for now). The U10 boys are preparing for a tournament in Cape Town hosted by Ajax, so I've been training all three teams in that age group for the last month. The boys finished strong with two great games against a notoriously scrappy club from
That evening I was in for a truly cross-cultural experience. Sokkie is a form of couples dancing that is popular in the white Afrikaner community of South Africa. Even my host, Adrian, who is white (but not Afrikaner), was a little nervous about the adventure to Santini's. But this is the same man that runs the Comrades every year, so he was up for it. As for me, it certainly wasn't going to be the first time that I was the only black guy at the party (e.g. UHS). As I pointed out to my friends in the parking lot, if I didn't go inside, then there would be NO black guys at the party, and that's just not a party at all. So I sokkie'd, or at least I did my best with the help of some patient instructors (thank you Jana!). As we left at the end of the night, I was tempted to take a picture under the old South African Flag that was hanging on the wall, but I figured I better not try my luck. So, we called it a night and I left in one piece.
The only fitting way to say farewell to South Africa is with a good old-fashioned braai. The only thing better than that is two braais! On Sunday we had a small farewell function at Adrian's house, combined with a celebration for Ernestine's birthday. We were even graced by a suprise performance from the Lebone ladies who stopped by to serenade us... so sweet!
The very next evening the Wits F.C. coaches organized a second farewell braai after my last practice with the U10 players. I already miss working with all of the Wits players and coaches, and I'm looking forward to coming back in the future! Believe me, we have a lot more fun than we let on (see hardcore picture below).
Now that I have landed safely, I can say that the journey back home was flawless. I got to the airport more than three hours before take off. I managed to check my two gi-normous bags without any flak from the airline. I even made it past immigration with minimal hassle, even though my visa had technically expired the day before! I got my VAT refund, but most of it went to the bank that charged a healthy fee to cash the check in the airport. Aisle seat for the first 10 hour flight (check). Exit row for the second 12-hour flight (check). I even got to explore downtown Frankfurt during my half-day layover in Germany. Delicious coffee and a croissant, plus a hair-cut and my first ever straight-razor shave. I've always wanted to try it, but I can never get that scene from The Color Purple out of my head. Anyway, I tried it and my skin didn't like it too much, so that will be the last time. Just another "first" in an amazing three months of exploring the world.