Yesterday evening I arrived in Bloemfontein, a small city in South Africa’s Free State Province, with a bunch of other bloggers and photographers. It was overcast and the city felt dreary.

We checked into our hotel. Dale, our leader, suggested we go to see the Mandela statue at the top of Bloemfontein’s Naval Hill. We would get there just in time for sunset.

I looked up at the flat, grayish sky. A sunset seemed unlikely. But I was keen to see the statue anyway.

We wound up the big hill, past suburban houses and hoards of joggers, and got out of the van near the statue. The sky remained blanketed except for a small bit of pink to the west.

We dutifully pulled out our phones and cameras and walked to the overlook, admiring the view of the city and the beautiful monument to Mandela. He stands about half a storey tall, holding his fist in an “Amandla!” rallying cry position. (Amandla means “power” in Xhosa and Zulu.)

The flaming orange sun poked a tiny hole through the clouds. The hole grew. Then this happened.

Madiba flames resized

Amandla, Madiba.

This is why I love to travel.

My trip is happening courtesy of South African Tourism and the #MeetSouthAfrica campaign. Read my other #MeetSouthAfrica posts, from both last year and this year, here.

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