The Baltimore Sun

There are many destination vacations, but in my opinion few offer the richness of an experience in South Africa. Years ago, I visited several townships and areas in and around Pretoria and Johannesburg. I was there as part of a missionary group. But it wasn't all work.

I had a chance to see the landscape of the area while stopping in Soweto to tour the Mandela Museum. I also went to an open market called "the zoo," where cultural items such as masks, native jewelry, dolls, furniture and other trinkets are sold to tourists.

I also saw the beauty of Church Square, a park area in Pretoria surrounded by government buildings, including the court where Nelson Mandela was convicted.

One day, I plan to return to see more of the country.

Until then, I was happy that writer Stephen G. Henderson offered up a story about South Africa to UniSun.

Henderson, who is quite the world traveler, writes about what you might want to see in Johannesburg and Cape Town. His trip also included a safari to Phinda, which is where many tourists go to see what that country calls "the Big Five" -- lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and rhinos.

This story package includes the names of some local travel agencies that plan trips to South Africa. Henderson's story begins on Page 12.

I hope by now that you realize UniSun's desire to cover a broad spectrum of topics that relate to who you are and how you live. At times, we write stories about people whose lives will inspire others.

Go to Page 9 and you'll find a story about 18-year-old Michael Spriggs, a former Maryland School for the Blind student who isn't letting his disability get in the way of his athleticism. It's an extraordinary story of will and courage written by Ericka Blount Danois.

Susan L. Taylor, formerly of Essence magazine, has always been an inspiration to others, and you'll see why on Page 10. Writer Arnesa Howell spoke to Taylor when she was in town recently to talk about her new national mentoring program and to promote a book.

And our First Person essay by Ovan Shortt is meant to encourage college-age young men looking for brotherhood in the fraternal ranks. On Page 23, Shortt writes about why he decided to join a fraternity that is not as well known as many other black fraternities. As you'll learn, he conducted his search for a group that fit his personality; for him, it wasn't about social status. In the end, he found a group that became like family to him.

Lastly, take a look at the Social Scene photos on Page 22. They include pictures of the Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir at a local church, and there's an accompanying Web site link to a video of the group singing for high school students.


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