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This program is organized by Duke faculty/staff in collaboration with DukeEngage.
May 29 - July 23
Assisting social agencies seeking to improve life in townships, documenting the history of District Six during the Apartheid era, and promoting health and economic reform.
Service themes include:
"Documenting & Engagement Movements of Social Change" will take students to service sites in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Students will spend the majority of the time in Cape Town, working with social agencies that are seeking to improve life in townships, document the history of District Six (a neighborhood bulldozed by the apartheid regime because it was a model of multi-racial democracy), and promote health and economic reform in the nation. In the course of this work, students will interact with South Africans who were victims of, and activists against, the rigid system of racial apartheid that ruled South Africa for much of the 20th Century. Students will also spend a brief time in Johannesburg and Pretoria, immersing themselves in the history of apartheid and the liberation struggle. In both locations, participants will explore how the stories carried forward about the past help shape policy decisions in the present.
Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes
The DukeEngage-Cape Town program helps students understand how the legacies of apartheid have influenced the current political, social, economic, and cultural landscape of South Africa. Through their work with community partners, the program challenges students to become historically sensitive, critically engaged, and cooperative citizens.
Former participants have worked with the following agencies:
Former participants have volunteered in the following categories of service:
Most placements are within walking distinct of student accommodations, and transportation is arranged when needed. Placements are decided once students are accepted into the program.
Examples of past projects include:
Coursework: Students applying for DukeEngage in Cape Town will be working with a group of community service agencies that will be interested in specific qualifications. Those working with the Women’s Legal Centre, for example, should be pre-law students. Students volunteering with the District Six Museum would benefit from having courses in documentary studies, photography and/or oral history. In general, some familiarity with South Africa’s recent history will be helpful.
Other Skills: Good writing and communication skills are required in all placements. Familiarity with social media and websites is also useful.
Personal Qualities: Students need to be open to new experiences and to living in a tight-knit community.
Description of Community: Cape Town is an urban city of great beauty and wealth as well as extreme poverty. With appropriate cautions, all areas in Cape Town and Johannesburg are relatively safe.
Housing and Meals: Students will be housed at guesthouses in the areas we visit. Each guesthouse is located in a comfortable neighborhood, close to shopping and restaurants. Students will be assigned roommates of the same gender and will share a common bedroom and bathroom.
Students will eat breakfast together (provided by the guesthouse) and will be given a stipend to purchase food for lunch and dinner. Students will have access to a refrigerator at the guest house, but will not have access to cooking facilities. Most students have eaten their meals at local restaurants or cafes or have ordered in. Students share meals twice a week to hear speakers and reflect on their work and activities.
If you do not eat certain types of food for cultural, religious or personal reasons, please contact the DukeEngage office, , to discuss whether or not your dietary needs can be reasonably accommodated at this program site.
Transportation: Walking or van organized by the DukeEngage team.
Communication: All students will have cell phones provided by the program. There are nearby cafes that have free wireless. The guesthouses also have internet access that students can purchase; however, this is not considered a programmatic expense. Students should bring laptops for their work with community partners.
Opportunities for Reflection: Your program leaders and site coordinator will lead regular reflection sessions in which you’ll be expected to participate. More details will be shared with students once they arrive on site. Weekly postings on a group blogsite are required.
Other Opportunities: Students will have free time to pursue social activities and have some downtime. There will be occasional weekend field trips. For safety reasons, students are not permitted to spend nights away from the group. There are many structured and non-structured activities that allow students to meet and talk with South Africans and to visit important historical and cultural sites.
Preparation for DukeEngage in Cape Town should include some reading on South African history. Allistair Sparks has written numerous books on South Africa, but two of his best are Beyond the Miracle, a study of post-apartheid South Africa, and The Mind of South Africa. Nelson Mandela’s The Long Walk to Freedom is a classic description of South Africa’s most important political figure. You might also consult Leonard Thompson, A History of South Africa, Mark Mathabane, Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography,and Steve Biko, I Write What I Like. The best way to be informed about events relating to South Africa is to subscribe to the email list for the Concilium on Southern Africa (COSA) https://sites.duke.edu/cosa.
There are a number of courses at Duke about South Africa, and there are several South Africans on the faculty.