We arrived in the city of Tshwane (formerly named Pretoria) on Sunday after a day-long journey from New York. Tshwane is the executive capitol of South Africa and according to several locals we met while walking through the city, home to the most national embassies after Washington D.C. More importantly, Tshwane is where the U.S. defeated Algeria in the World Cup just two months ago. The city is dear to my heart because it is where my grandfather came many years ago for surgery while working for a hunger relief program in Zambia.
We spent the day exploring the city and trying to beat our jetlag. We visited the spectacular gardens surrounding the city’s government buildings as well as the former home of Paul Kruger, the president of South Africa before the British took control from the Boers, or its Dutch-speaking settlers, in 1900. The Kruger House Museum chronicles the Transvaal and Boer Wars and showcases the furniture, clothing and even kitchen appliances of late 19th Century South Africa.
We later stopped at a café near the main square and got a much-needed caffeine jolt and tried “biltong,” a type of cured meat made from wild game that tastes like prosciutto. On our way to our hotel, we passed Tshwane’s Brooklyn neighborhood and joked about traveling 24 hours just to end up where we started.