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South Africa: Multiculturalism, Race, and Place

Travel Blog

The course on South Africa will focus around the idea of race in the culture, economy, and society of South Africa.  Students also have the chance to explore and learn about South African culture and wildlife.  Starting in Johannesburg, we will visit the famous Soweto township, including visits to the home of Nelson Mandela, the Hector Pieterson Museum, and the Apartheid Museum. From there, we will visit the Venda cultural group, in rural Eastern South Africa, where we will have the opportunity to see their traditional crafts, dancing, and music and may be able to meet a traditional healer.  Afterward, we will go on a safari in Kruger Park, with the chance to see lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, wild buffaloes and many other wild animals in their natural habitat.  Then we will board a flight to Port Elizabeth, to experience the lingering effects of apartheid, in a local township.  Tsitsikamma Park has a wilderness area that students’ will see by zip-line gliding between treetop platforms above the forest.  Driving down to Cape Town, we will stop in Oudtshoorn, the Ostrich farm capital of South Africa, and visit a working ostrich farm and have the chance to sample ostrich eggs.  We will also visit a wildlife rehabilitation center for lions and other large cats.  In Cape Town, we will have the chance to see the ‘new’ South Africa, with the vibrant modern culture mixed with the scars of the old Apartheid era South Africa.  Another part of our trip will take us to the remains of District Six, and a very poor township outside of Cape Town.  We will also travel by boat to Robben Island, the site of the prison where Nelson Mandela and other activists were held.  The class will have the chance to go to the top of the impressive Table Mountain, and possibly see a colony of penguins.  There will also be time to experience the vibrant shopping, nightlife, and craft markets of Cape Town during free time.  This class will give students the chance to experience modern South Africa while learning the history and culture of this fascinating country.