CWU Contemporary South Africa, - Spring Programs, 03/08


Johannesburg , which will be the main focus for this course, is the commercial and economic capital of South Africa. It has the world's largest informal (slum) settlement ( Soweto) and has the greatest concentration of mineral wealth in the world. It is also the largest city in Africa. Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and, having been the seat of the apartheid government for close to fifty years, has a very dynamic history of power and race relations. Johannesburg and Pretoria are therefore very useful in understanding contemporary South African society. Through lectures and field trips in and around these two cities, you will be introduced to the history of contemporary South Africa.

Academic Program

South Africa is a laboratory for studying questions of equality in a newly formed (1994) democracy. This is because though South Africa is the wealthiest country in Africa, it still has enormous levels of inequality among its citizens. Formal political equality was achieved in 1994, but there remains much work to be done for this to translate into economic and social equality.

This, along with the history of apartheid that leading up to this point, will be studied in hands-on, experiential ways as you explore Johannesburg and Pretoria. You'll start with three-hour lectures given most mornings by faculty leader Dr. Maurice Amutabi. These lectures will help provide a context for the sites you'll be seeing, and will supplement the required course readings.

In the afternoons, you'll take field trips to some significant sites in contemporary South African History: the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, commemorating the heroes and heroines of apartheid; Liliesleaf Farm, where Nelson Mandela and other apartheid leaders were arrested in 1963, and more.

You'll also have a guided tour of Soweto (a shortening of 'Southwest Townships'), the largest informal settlement in the world. Soweto is one of the most prominent historical landmarks and legacies of apartheid in South Africa, and was the center of anti-apartheid groups and black leaders such as Desmond Tutu and Winnie Mandela.

You'll also experience contemporary South African culture in other ways. The group will visit Pilanesberg National Park to see Africa's wildlife in their natural environment. A trip is planned to the famous Rosebank Flea Market to give you a more concrete sense of culture in South Africa. And as a point of contrast, you'll have the chance to visit Sun City, the most modern entertainment complex in South Africa.

Classes Offered

You'll be enrolled in HIST 298/398 'Contemporary South Africa,' for three credits during winter quarter. (There are be no overload fees associated with taking this course.) In addition to readings and participation in daily lectures and field trips, course requirements are:

HIST 298

  • 5-8 page research paper (60% of grade) - on a topic of your choice as it relates to South Africa. Due May 20 (tentatively).
  • Travel journal (40% of grade) - at least five, half-page entries on your reflections of the trip. Due May 20 (tentatively).

HIST 398

  • Same as above, plus a 2-3 page book review (25% of grade). The research paper will be worth 50%, and the journal worth 25%).

For more information, check out the course syllabus.


Students will stay in local hotels, in double-occupancy, single-sex rooms. Breakfast will be included at most accommodations, and in addition, five to six other meals will be provided by the program as group meals.

Program Fee

The program fee will be between $1425 and $1925, depending on enrollment and currency fluctuation.

Program Dates & Application Deadlines

  • Spring Break: (March 13, 2008 - March 24, 2008)
  • Application Deadline: December 1 (rolling admission - apply early!)

For more information:

Page Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D.

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