Checking out Nkomazi Municipality and Visiting Peace Corps Volunteers

When people visit me, I like to show them more of South Africa than the tourist sites. So I made sure to take my family to the Nkomazi area to see “real” South African life.

Our first stop was the best eating house ever:

Bonus graffiti:

We also stopped in to visit a few other Peace Corps Volunteers. Check out the used booze collection of this mystery volunteer (it’s not the one pictured):

We went to a small shopping town and visited the Muti sellers. Muti is traditional medicine, and these guys sell some pretty interesting stuff:

As usual, we attracted quite a bit of attention:

Awesome Peace Corps Volunteer photo with Mia. From left to right Kristy, Matt, me, Peach, and of course Mia down low:

Aaaand take 2. In addition to your favorite Peace Corps Volunteers, to the right of us is Louise, then Laurie, and finally Joe exposing his vulnerable areas:

We headed out to a village to see a “real” Peace Corps site:

Where my family discovered shade on a hot day. If there’s a “real” Africa, this is what it looks like:

Since we were in the area, we went to the Samora Machel museum/memorial. It is one of the most interesting museums I’ve seen in South Africa. But sadly, it’s in a very remote corner of the country.

The story goes thus: Samora Machel was the president of Mozambique back in the 80s. In addition to providing a home for various parts of the ANC fighting against the Aparthied era government, he also had a habit of promoting Marxism and cozying up to the Soviets. You can imagine how much the South African government at the time loved him.

While flying back to Mozambique one night, his plane went off-course, entered South African airspace, and crashed into the hills. He was just a few kilometers from the friendly skies of Swaziland and mere meters from Mozambique. Conspiracy theories abound. You can read about them in the museum.

The most fascinating part of the memorial is parts of the wreckage:

Mozambique is the top of this hill:

More of the grounds:

On the way home, we drove through the village near the museum:

And to frost the “real Africa” cake, a brief stop at a taxi rank, where public-transit taxi-vans abound:

SOCCER BALL! And a shoeless Afrikaner child in a supermarket. Not uncommon: