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South Africa Group

southafrica.jpgOn May 22, 2011, nine Simmons students and I will depart Boston for a three-week tour of South Africa that will take us from Johannesburg to Durban and Cape Town. Our purpose is to look into the state of human rights there, two decades after the walls of one of the worst systems of racial domination ever constructed--apartheid--began to come down and 17 years after South Africa's first ever multi-racial, democratic elections. We'll share our impressions with you through this blog.

This is the fourth such trip I've led in eight years. The first three each yielded a series of articles that appeared in The Simmons Voice. So will this one.

Articles from the first two trips (2005 and 2007) were collected in two student-designed books published by Africa World Press--Women to Women: Young Americans in South Africa (2005), and Old Wrongs, New Rights: Student Views of the New South Africa (2008). These are available today online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I come to this project from a life spent working in and on Africa before I came to Simmons on a full-time basis in 2002. My first visit to South Africa came in 1986 as part of a fact-finding mission for the Boston-based aid agency Grassroots International, then constructing a program to support the anti-apartheid struggle inside the embattled country.

Today, I teach journalism and African politics in the Communications and Political Science Departments and in the Honors Program, pleased to have the opportunity to share my experiences with the Simmons community on multi-disciplinary projects like this one. If you want to know more about me, go to my personal website:

If you want to hear more about our trip, stay tuned.

--Dan Connell, Senior Lecturer, Professor of Practice

Recent Entries by South Africa Group

  • The little mosque on the Bo-Kaap
    By Anam Kaleem "Hayya 'ala-Salah, Hayya 'ala-l Fala. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. La illah illallah." (Come to prayer, come to success. God is the greatest. There is no God except the One God.) The call to prayer filled the city...
  • Surviving sexual abuse
    By Maddie Eagan Bundled in a shiny black belted-down coat and purple turtleneck, Nozwelo Ncube welcomed us to Simelela Centre Site B Day Hospital as we left the reception area where a woman was sitting and waiting--her right eye bruised...
  • Promises, promises...
    By Rubby Wuabu Valhalla Park (Outside Cape Town)--"Hello, I am Gerti. I am unemployed and work full-time in the community," said Gertrude Square, 61, the chair of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign. Square got involved in community activism after being...
  • District Six keeps the past alive
    By Allison Whittier On Feb. 11, 1966, District Six--a multicultural hub in Cape Town--was declared a white area. Over the next decade, all the black, Indian and coloured families were pushed off their land and their homes demolished, destroying a...
  • Taking a "Toxic tour"
    By Ava Salitsky Along the shore of the Indian Ocean south of Durban, there are miles of undeveloped sandy beach and steep, scrub-covered ridges, topped by brightly painted vacation houses. In the valley below, however, thousands of people are at...

See more on the South Africa Group blog »


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