This post originally ran on 05 December 2007. In honor of the US World Cup game in Ellis Park today, I wanted to relive my first experience at the historic stadium...
The team that was here from San Antonio, from Grace Point, got a unique day of South African culture to be sure. No safari, but that really isn't the culture of Joburg, now is it?
We first went to the Apartheid Museum, where they learned about the people that they would be ministering to. They were able to see, firsthand, what real oppression looks like. It is a sobering trip through the museum, but one which gives the visitor a much clearer picture of why present-day South Africa looks the way it does.
After that, we stopped at Anna's roadside stand for a real South African lunch. Anna sets up a portable kitchen every day in the same spot, with little gas skillets and cardboard counter-tops. She has been in this spot since 2001 and, in our opinion, makes the best pap in Africa. We (eventually - long story) treated the team to pap and chicken or pap and steak. For about $2 a person, you get more food than almost anyone can eat in one sitting. This is the meal that many (if not most) Africans eat every day (minus the meat which is a luxury) and very few visiting missionaries ever try it. Mmm.
Finally, we headed over to Ellis Park for a soccer match between the USA and South Africa. To really know South Africans, you have to see them in their element. And soccer is their element. The USA won 1-0 in a exciting match that saw the South Africans take (and miss) about 47 shots that could have tied it in the 2nd half. The fans were nuts, dancing and shouting and blowing horns and clapping hands... They were the real highlight of the game and the real reason we were there.
The team got a taste (literally and figuratively) of what real Africans go through on a daily basis. They mourned with them, ate with them, and cheered with them.
My hope is that no one on the team will soon forget them.