Visit to South Africa, Sponsored by the Africana Institute At Essex County College

Visiting children at Dr. Notshulwana’s grade school in Port Elizabeth.

The visit to South Africa was absolutely wonderful! It was well planned. The word which comes to mind most frequently is diversity.


The participating members included the president of Essex County College, his wife, the director and assistant director of the Institute, representatives from the faculty and administration, two former ECC students, one of whom had not previously traveled abroad, an ECC alumna and retired educator, and two physicians. The small group (12) afforded us an opportunity to share experiences with each other – to laugh and just enjoy being together.


The itinerary was structured but presented numerous opportunities for participants to pursue their own area of interest. I especially enjoyed the broad-based coverage rather than spending too much time in one destination. We “saw” South Africa through different eyes – a nation with many cultures, modern cities and small villages, forged a relationship with a school, and visited Parliament in Cape Town which housed a library in which some members of the group were able to locate their surname and its origin in a historic document.


I look forward to joining members of The Africana Institute in future educational endeavors.
Trish Morris-Yamba


You need to go to the motherland!!!

At Nelson Mandela's jail cell in Robben Island
At Nelson Mandela’s jail cell in Robben Island


If I can find any excuse to go to Africa, trust and believe I will be on that plane. Traveling to South Africa in July 2008 was my first time going out of the country and my first trip to the motherland. I could not have asked for a better experience or a better group of people to travel with. Unfortunately I held on to the media images so many of us have been bombarded with in regards to what Africa looks like. I am extremely elated to say we should not believe the hype. Africa is a beautiful, progressive country with much to see and explore. The country is well developed and steeped in history and culture. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wishes to expand his/her horizons and gain a new world view perspective.


The Africana Institute and its organizers worked hard to ensure that our trip was well worth the money its participants invested in it. I have no disappointments on my return because we were treated very well by all those we encountered. We also stayed at great hotels and resorts. I felt safe and secure traveling with my group and I know that is because a lot of time, dedication, and commitment went into making sure this trip was a success. I encourage anyone who has not traveled to Africa to do so at least once in their lifetime. As an African-American I considered it to be a pilgrimage and homecoming of sorts. I am heavily considering relocating to South Africa sometime in the future as I was so enchanted with the country and the experience. What more can I say other than don’t take my word for it; go see for yourself!
Marlicia Nicole James
Essex County College Alumnae



At a native home in Sowe
At a native home in Sowe


July 12, 2008 in South Africa (the MOTHERLAND), a very memorable day of my life, one I will never forget. I was actually in South Africa!


My trip to South Africa with ECC’s Africana Institute was educational, breathtaking, and exciting. Johannesburg, Soweto, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, and Cape Town were truly beautiful cities to explore and their modern hotels and huts as sleeping quarters were cosy, like at home.


One of many memorable moments while in South Africa was the visit to Soweto. Talking with the adults and the young sisters and brothers in the town was truly heart-warming.


To walk into their homes and to see first hand how they live today in this 21st century was amazing. I was struck by how they prepare their foods and how well their homes are kept (clean and neat). Many of their homes may have been small (one level) but they have material things just like we U.S. citizens have: TV, kitchen table with chairs, cabin shelves for pots and dishes, small colorful/design rugs on the floors, etc.


The Cango Caves, one of the “Seven Wonders” of South Africa, was discovered in 1780 by the Dutch colonists. There is only one word to describe this cave — breathtaking! You have to see it.


Kragga Kamma Game Park (Safari) was great. Seeing many animals of South Africa run as freely as these animals did was truly amazing. Just to name a few of the animals we saw: wildebeests, spring hare, bushbuck, Burch ell’s zebra, warthog, impala, cheetah, and the white rhino.


NOTE: South Africa’s population is between 45 – 50 million people.  The country is well known for its “aloe plants.”


South Africa has four races: Black, Colored, White, and Indian.  The Colored Race is a group of mixed races. The word Colored is proudly acclaimed.


If finances permit, I truly urge every African American to definitely take one trip to Africa, whether it is to visit South Africa or West Africa, North Africa or East Africa, to see the true beauty of this continent called Africa, our Home, our Motherland.
Inell Jackson

Print Friendly, PDF & Email