July 2008 marked the Africana Institute’s inaugural Summer Study Program. This year’s trip was to South Africa where we stayed from July 11th to the 23rd. Twelve people went on the trip including: one current student who is doing an independent study, a recent alumnus, Dr. and Mrs. Yamba, Dean White and her family, ECC faculty and staff, and a community member.
We spent several days in the Gauteng province where we visited historical and cultural sites including the State Building, Mandela Square, and Soweto. In Soweto, we went to the Hector Pieterson Museum that documented the 1976 youth uprising in the township.
We then flew to Port Elizabeth in the southeast part of the country, where we met with Mr. Malizole Gwaxula, President, Ubuntu Education Fund, and visited cultural sites and schools. We then drove to Cape Town via the Garden Route to visit Robben Island where Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years.
We visited the Slave Lodge where slaves were kept until the early 1800s, although slavery did not end until 1838. We then flew back to Johannesburg before returning to the U.S.
The Africana Institute’s Summer Study Program (SSAP) is an inter-disciplinary initiative to which students from all disciplines are welcome. We invite undergraduate, graduate, and non-traditional students to join on future trips. The Director and Assistant Director of the Institute will facilitate these trips. We will provide lectures for our participants during these trips. Additionally, scholars from the countries we visit will be conversing with participants.
For example while in South Africa, Mr. Mxolisi “Ace” Mgxashe, who is now a prominent journalist in the Cape Town area, was once an Adjunct Professor of writing at ECC. We had the opportunity to dine and talk with him and his wife, who also used to be part of the ECC family.
All in all, the inaugural trip abroad was a major success and provided a great foundation for future trips.
The Summer Study Program trip for 2009 will explore the Underground Railroad on the east coast of the United States. We will explore the conditions, journeys, and sacrifices on the road to freedom for former enslaved Africans in America. Join us for an unforgettable journey north.