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Bridging the Gap


Just a mere half hour from Pietermaritzburg is a little town that, while well-known in the surrounding area, remains undiscovered by most tourists. The town is Howick, home to many small cafes and beautiful shops, and most notably Howick Falls, a one hundred meter water fall that is said to be one of the most spiritual places in the world, one that still draws people to the God said to live behind the falls. Part lion, part snake, and part bird, this God receives many offerings of fruit and tokens of respect from the locals who believe in it.

Howick became an important place for me here in South Africa, somewhere I could go for a fun afternoon with friends, but I also think that it’s a good example of some of the discrepancies present within South Africa. The people who bring offerings to the God behind the waterfall hope that their baskets will float behind and reach the God. When this doesn’t happen and the baskets instead tumble downstream, they take this as a sign of rejection. Others see this as the natural force of the undercurrent at the base of the falls, causing the baskets to be propelled away. In this we see the challenge of bridging different viewpoints and beliefs, something that so greatly characterizes this country, and in fact, the world.

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