South Africa: Social and Political Transformation
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Educational excursions are an integral part of the SIT South Africa: Social and Political Transformation program. Designed to directly complement learning conducted in the classroom, excursions give students the opportunity to explore South Africa's socioeconomic complexity, diversity, and natural beauty in greater depth.
In and around Durban
At the program base in Durban, students experience the warmth, beauty, and cosmopolitanism of Africa’s busiest port and the fa-vored holiday beach destination for South Africans — home to the largest South Asian community outside India. In the greater Durban area, students visit and interact with the residents of an informal shack dwellers settlement. Additional Durban visits include an informal African traders market (including a traditional bead market), an ecotourism project, a center for jazz and popular music, the University of KwaZulu-Natal campus, and several local high schools. Students also visit the Luthuli Museum, the former home of the first African Nobel Peace Prize winner, Chief Albert Luthuli, and the Phoenix Settlement, the former Durban home of Mohandas Gandhi, now a museum.
During the Johannesburg excursion, students spend time at the following sites:
- The Apartheid Museum
- The Constitutional Court, Soweto – where students visit the Hector Pieterson Museum
- The Mandela House – the former home of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, now a museum
An excursion to Mozambique provides students with a firsthand opportunity to learn of the shared histories of South Africa and Mozambique, with a focus on the key collaborative role played by Mozambique’s ruling party — FRELIMO — in the liberation struggle against apartheid following its own hard-fought independence movement from Portugal in the 1970s. Students learn of the African National Congress’s military wing — Umkhonto we Sizwe — and its bases of operations throughout Mozambique, witness the physical effects of the South African apartheid government’s attacks in the capital, Maputo, and meet key individuals and institutions, with a view toward the shared, but divergent, project of political transformation in both countries. Excursions in and around Maputo typically include visits to museums, sites of ANC armed struggle, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, and a discussion at the FRELIMO Party School with Dr. Arlindo Chilundo, the head of the school, a fighter on the frontlines during Mozambique’s liberation war, and currently Mozambique’s minister of education. Read more about the relationship between South Africa and Mozambique in a column in Durban’s Mercury by Imraan Buccus, academic director of South Africa: Social and Political Transformation.
In week six of the program, students undertake an eight-day rural homestay during which they live with families in the Amacambini Reserve, about a 90-minute drive north of Durban. During this excursion, students engage in a special educational program with the graduating class at Amatikulu High School and a project focused on restorative justice and art therapy at a local prison with members of Phoenix Zululand.
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve
Students visit the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, the oldest game reserve in South Africa and one of the largest, where, with luck, they may spot the "Big Five" (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and black and white rhinoceros) as well as giraffes and zebras.
In the final week, the program travels to Cape Town, where students typically visit Robben Island — experiencing firsthand the prison that held Nelson Mandela and the struggle’s most important figures during apartheid. Students visit Table Mountain — Cape Town’s dramatic backdrop — and have some time to explore the city on their own.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Durban
Language Study: isiZulu
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