A group from South Africa got the “Fondren treatment” this weekend as they explored Jackson aboard the Fondren Express for a historical tour. Selena Swartfager of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education said the dozen participants were here as part of an exchange program of sorts, learning how the U.S. offers economic education to teachers and students. While on board, educators learned of the history of University Medical Center, where South African Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first human heart transplant in 1967. They also toured the Belhaven neighborhood, along with multiple downtown sites, including a stop at the Hilton Garden “King Edward” Inn. The Howard Jones Dixieland Jazz Trio playing that afternoon was a group favorite.

One participant was heard to say the tour was very informative and helped them learn about Mississippi and especially the Civil War, a period of time he said “maybe distance from America” kept him from knowing much about. The educators also highly praised The Fondren Express’ Captain Ron Mills for his personable nature and wealth of information. The group will go on to Washington D.C. this week before heading home. Later this year, Mississippi teachers will go to South Africa for a tour of their own.

Want to take a historical, cultural, or African-American Heritage tour? Contact the Fondren Express!