Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Highlights of the Writers Retreat to Johannesburg, Victoria Falls and Botswana

Dear Writers and Travelers,

As you know our Women's Writing Circle, in coordination with Holden Safaris, is offering the trip of a lifetime—a writers retreat in Africa. 

The magic and allure of Africa have inspired many great writers from Ernest Hemingway to Isak Dinesen. But whether you journal, want to write a book, or just long to see an amazing part of the world with like-minded travelers, this trip is an opportunity to "change it up" and move out of your comfort zone in the safety and security of an expert Africa travel organization.

Our tour leader, Sonia, Marsh, an author in her own right, offers this history and some highlights of our trip.


Upon arrival at Johannesburg airport on March 5th, our friendly staff will escort you to the Peech hotel, a boutique property with rooms spread across lush gardens. There you’ll have time to rest, freshen up, have a massage or, if you prefer, jumpstart your writing. Susan Weidener and Sonia Marsh will toast the start of our adventure together and brief you on the week’s activities, during a sumptuous dinner.

After a night of rest and recovery, we depart after breakfast with our guide for a day of exploration. We start with a tour of Soweto, an urban settlement or 'township' in South Africa, southwest of Johannesburg, with a population of approximately 1.3 million.

Soweto was created in the 1930s when the White government started separating blacks from whites. Blacks were moved away from Johannesburg, to an area separated from the white suburbs. Soweto became the largest Black city in South Africa, but until 1976 its population could have status only as temporary residents, serving as a workforce for Johannesburg. It experienced civil unrest during the Apartheid regime. There were serious riots in 1976, sparked by a ruling that Afrikaans be used in African schools. The riots were violently suppressed with 176 students killed and more than 1,000 injured. Reforms followed, but riots flared up again in 1985 and continued until the first multiracial elections were held in April 1994.

Our guide will take us to the top three sites in Johannesburg starting with the Apartheid Museum. The Apartheid Museum allows visitors to experience the racial segregation that occurred during apartheid by separating them by racial appearance classified by the width of the nose, the kinks in hair, skin pigmentation, and size of lips.

We then visit The Nelson Mandela National Museum, commonly referred to as Mandela House, where Nelson Mandela lived from 1946 to 1962. Mandela came back to the house after his release from prison in 1990, despite suggestions from government officials that he find a safer home. At a rally welcoming him home to Soweto his opening words were, "I have come home at last." However, after 11 days back at the house he moved out again.

An authentic Soweto lunch will be served at Sakumizi's restaurant located on the same street as Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto. Another famous museum: the Hector Pieterson Museum is located two blocks away from where Hector Pieterson, a South African schoolboy, was shot and killed during the Soweto uprising.

We return to the Peech hotel to freshen up and enjoy sharing our experiences over dinner.

Next week we'll feature another highlight of this trip.

Here are all the details of our Africa retreat: http://www.susanweidener.com/p/eversince-i-was-twenty-one-years-old.html


Gutsy Living said...

This is going to be such an adventure Susan. I cannot wait to share the beauty of Africa and the warmth of Africa's people with those who join us on this retreat in Johannesburg, Victoria Falls and our photographic Safari of the wildlife in Botswana. Not only will we experience a completely different environment, but we will be changed through personal growth, and lasting relationships.

Susan G. Weidener said...

I agree, Sonia. Travel and writing opens so many vistas. What could be more exciting!