First of all, I’m not sure if parade is the right word. I used it while talking to a police officer…at the parade…and he looked at me as if I had two heads. Parliament opened in Cape Town last week so there was a parade down Adderley Street to mark the event.
Zuma would be making an appearance, and Mandela was in the area. We got there at 4:30 with the understanding that the events wouldn’t begin for at least another hour. The streets were bare aside from a few parents with strollers and other international students.
All I could think was that if Obama were to be making any sort of appearance, the streets would be packed. I understand Zuma isn’t the most popular man in South Africa right now, but he is the president, nonetheless, and I’m sure he does have supporters out there somewhere.
Two hours later, when the first section of soldiers started to march down the street, there weren’t many more people in attendance than there had been when we arrived.
I saw Zuma. He was in a vehicle reminiscent of the Popemobile with one of his wives and other important people. He was waving to the crowd that was there, and it was pretty darn exciting. Even if I didn’t get to see Mandela (apparently he snuck in earlier), I got to see the president of South Africa. How cool is that?
Even if Zuma did not make a public appearance the parade would have been neat to watch. There were bands and the military marches, and there were horses, and bagpipes. Just your average parade. I feel like in my town back home that would have generated more interest than the opening of Parliament featuring President Zuma did here in Cape Town.