Global Academy course overview

UCT Global Academy offers students two course options.


Course Description

An overview of historical and contemporary contexts in South Africa, offering a timeline of significant events that have shaped South African politics, culture and society. The course connects the past to the present, touching on:

Slavery – the human face of Cape slavery, taking a journey into the history of San / Khoi dispossession and slavery at the Cape, as well as intergenerational trauma.

Colonialism – British and Dutch expansion in the Cape and South Africa

Apartheid and Resistance – The history of segregation in South Africa and movements of resistance

Culture, Heritage and Citizenship – Exploring African cultural heritage and practices in contemporary South Africa.

Post-apartheid South Africa – A discussion on issues of transformation, and the global icon and leadership of Nelson Mandela.

Course outcomes

Students will gain an understanding of the way history shapes the character of Cape Town, South Africa and Africa, and gain insight into the contemporary African context. Lectures will give a historical, political, sociological and psychological overview of Afropolitanism.


Visits to historical and heritage sites including Robben Island, the Slave Lodge and sites of slavery in Cape Town; District Six Museums; Community Schools and Centres of art and music. Visits also offer opportunity for cultural exchange and building international friendships.


Power in society

Course Description

The course will inform students about power in society based on contemporary critical social theory and looks into: • Understanding Power, Difference, Privilege and Oppression • Relationship of power to issues of gender, race and racism, class and sexuality

Students will examine how the construction of intersecting and often conflicting centres and margins creates differences that significantly impact on people’s life opportunities.

Interesting questions the course will include:

  • How does a society decide who has power and who does not?
  • Who decides how power plays out in society?
  • Who has power in contemporary South African society?
  • Where did and does this power come from?
  • How do humans behave when in positions of power?  
  • How does the nature of power change?

Course Outcomes

The aim is to assist students in developing awareness of the nature of power in society and the myriad ways they are either complicit in the hegemonic nature of it, or in their oppression by it. Students are encouraged to reflect on ways in which power might be challenged, changed, or overcome.


Visits to, local NGOs, Community Schools, historical and heritage sites.