Every semester our SSA students participate in a wide range of activities on and off-campus. Here’s an excerpt from the newsletter produced by Shannon Dowdall at IDACA – one of the partner organisations with whom we work on our SSA programme – reflecting on the activities students from Princeton University in the USA enjoyed during the first semester at UCT.
The group from Princeton and a small number from other schools, arrived in early February to spend a month attending UCT School courses both for credits and for interest. These classes were varied, interesting and mostly focused on Africa. The classes were small and offered students the opportunity to engage closely with the lecturers as well as with international students from Europe.
They were enthusiastic and positive about different perspectives offered in course content and the outspoken and passionate discussions during class as students and staff negotiate changes at UCT. Some students went on field trips in places like the De Hoop Nature Reserve on the east coast (famous for its whale trail); or on trips to informal settlements in the Cape Town area where the very issues they were debating during classes emerged in stimulating and intellectually challenging encounters.
Many students joined SHAWCO, the UCT student- run outreach voluntary work programme where they went on a weekly basis to tutor children in the townships.
Most of the group participated fully in clubs and societies this semester. Those studying African Dance were part of a performance hosted by UCT’s School of Dance and which was one of the events organised to celebrate Africa Week.
The group from Princeton once again did a four day trip to the Eastern Cape with Professor Francis Wilson where they visited schools, met teachers and principals as well as with NGO’s staff involved in education.
This adventurous group took every opportunity to explore Cape Town as well as to travel in Southern Africa. They hiked the mountains regularly from Table Mountain to the remote Cedarburg with its rock art paintings. They explored the food from braais at the famous Mzoli’s or Ethiopian restaurants as well as some of the top restaurants in South Africa and indeed the world! They travelled through Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and within South Africa from Durban on the east coast to Karoo desert and the beautiful winelands closer to Cape Town. A group of them once again attended the Afrika Burn (similar to Burning Man in Nevada) in the Tankwa Karoo area during unusually high temperatures but all survived without heat stroke!
Download the full IDACA newsletter.