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
In the greater Durban area, students visit and interact with the residents of an informal shack dwellers settlement. They also visit 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, 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 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
In week six of the program, students undertake a 10-day rural homestay during which they live with families in the Amacabini 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.
Umfolozi-Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Students visit the Umfolozi-Hluhluwe Game Reserve, one of the largest and oldest game reserves in South Africa, where, with luck, they may spot the "Big Five" (lion, cheetah, buffalo, elephant, and black and white rhinoceros) as well as deer, giraffes, and zebras.
Lesotho or Mozambique
The program includes an educational excursion to one of two neighboring countries—either Lesotho or Mozambique. Lesotho is a mountain kingdom wholly surrounded by South Africa. During the Lesotho excursion, students experience the capital city, Maseru, and gain an introduction to Lesotho’s unique mountain culture. In Lesotho, the program visits a traditional community in their rondavel homes; an NGO involved in HIV/AIDS work; and the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, a water supply and hydroelectric scheme developed in partnership with South Africa.
During the alternate Mozambique excursion, the program visits Kosi Bay, on KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast. While there, students make a day trip to the southern part of Mozambique, to the quaint village of Ponta D’Ouro, a short distance from the South African border at Kosi Bay. Here, students learn about the relationship between Frelimo, Mozambique’s liberation movement, and the ANC (African National Congress), one of South Africa’s liberation movements. Both are now ruling parties. Students come to understand how the project of liberation and transformation in these two countries intersect, while learning about Mozambique’s culture. Students also get to take in the picturesque setting of Ponta D’Ouro, surrounded by casuarinas trees, sand dunes, and the sea.
During the evaluation period, the program visits Cape Town, where students typically visit Robben Island and Table Mountain. Students may also have some time to explore the city on their own.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: South Africa, Durban
Language Study: Zulu
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