Aloha from the southern edge of the world! So much of this South African stretch of Hokule’a’s voyage (and its hectic whirlwind of a day-to-day schedule) is about exploring where we all come from — our shared human origins.
It’s about one of the youngest cultures in the world, in Hawaii, converging with the oldest, in the southernmost reaches of this African continent.
Yesterday I saw a powerful, real, chicken-skin moment of convergence as Hokule’a crew members joined Hawaii students and teachers to visit St. Mary’s Primary Catholic School in Nyanga, a township outside Cape Town.
We were there as part of an Archbishop Desmond Tutu-led campaign to provide much-needed school desks to millions of students across Africa. While there, dancers from Kamehameha Schools and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School wowed several hundred African elementary students with some fierce hula dancing. Afterwards, a small troupe performed the traditional dances of this region’s Xhosa tribe.
It was all fun to watch and to document… But what came next was one of those remarkable, unexpected moments that you know you’ll never forget.
In a completely spontaneous and unscripted moment, the Hawaii kids and Xhosa started dancing together — and they didn’t miss a beat. They just let go and went for it with total joy written on their faces, and the whole thing came together astoundingly.
Two groups of kids from different cultures separated by about as much time and geographic distance as is possible on our planet … In that moment they were speaking the same language. Such an incredible image.