Study Abroad in South Africa
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Study Abroad in South Africa



Kimberly Vrudny and Richard Cogill will be leading another study experience in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Guguletu, and Hermanus, South Africa during January-term 2015. "AIDS, Apartheid, and ...

Kimberly Vrudny and Richard Cogill will be leading another study experience in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Guguletu, and Hermanus, South Africa during January-term 2015. "AIDS, Apartheid, and the Arts of Resistance" involves site visits, academic lectures, studio tours, and service experiences. Learn more by viewing the slides.



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Study Abroad in South Africa Study Abroad in South Africa Presentation Transcript

  • Theological Reflection in South Africa January 1 – 27, 2015 University of St. Thomas St. Paul, Minnesota Instructors: Rev. Richard Cogill Dr. Kimberly Vrudny AIDS, Apartheid, and the Arts of Resistance
  • THE TEAM Rev. Richard Cogill St. George’s Cathedral Cape Town Dr. Kimberly Vrudny University of St. Thomas St. Paul
  • Rev. Cogill’s PREPARATION Rev. Cogill was raised in the township of Oceanview. He participated in one of Archbishop Tutu’s leadership programs in Durban, then went to Taize, for a year. He then studied in Minnesota for his BA and MA, returning to South Africa after the election. Now he serves as a priest at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.
  • Dr. Vrudny’s PREPARATION After graduating with a master’s degree in theology and the arts, Vrudny went on for a doctorate and became a professor of theology at St. Thomas, where she teaches in the area of theological aesthetics and the arts. Her work focuses on visual ethics, social justice, and public health. 2015 will be the fifth time she has taken student groups to South Africa.
  • The Course of Study We will travel to South Africa to study how a theological imagination of liberation infiltrated the visual arts, music, literature, and film of the country, ultimately moving the population to overthrow apartheid and to insist on healthcare for all. AIDS, Apartheid, and the Arts of Resistance, January-term 2015, page 1 THEO. 489 AIDS, APARTHEID, AND THE ARTS OF RESISTANCE: THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION IN SOUTH AFRICA Johannesburg • Pretoria • Cape Town • Guguletu • Hermanus University of St. Thomas J-term 2015 Instructors: Richard Cogill, Priest in the Western Cape South African Diocese of the Anglican Communion Kimberly Vrudny, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, University of St. Thomas COURSE DESCRIPTION: Through analysis of works of artistic resistance, students in this course will examine the interrelationships between two catastrophes of the modern era in South Africa: Apartheid and AIDS. Students will approach works of art with theological lenses to explore such themes as lament, imago Dei, prophecy, theodicy, justice/charity, memory, storytelling, covenant, forgiveness/reconciliation, and hope. Artistic examples will be drawn from the visual arts (both “fine-” and “folk-“ styles), music, literature (novel and poetry), and film. Students will learn about the arts of resistance through guest presentations, and through visits to selected sites in Johannesburg and Cape Town and their surrounding areas. Students will participate in the arts of resistance by service work conducted at the Central Methodist Mission church in Johannesburg and the Scalabrini center in Cape Town. Students will integrate the dimensions of the course by reflecting on a theological theme by reference to works of visual art, music, literature, and film.
  • COURSE TEXTS Plus a reading pack . . .
  • Community We will be an intentional community during our time in South Africa, spending most of each day with one another. Most days will include a session with a guest speaker, an excursion, a worship experience, and time for reflection as a large group. We will also have time and space for silent, individual reflection along the way.
  • Bosco Centre In Johannesburg, we’ll stay at the Bosco Centre, a community of Salesians. Each student will stay in a double en suite chalet, and we’ll enjoy breakfasts in the community center. The conference center is about 30 km south of Johannesburg, and is about one hour from the airport and most of our destinations.
  • Kolbe House In Cape Town, we’ll be housed at Kolbe House, a Jesuit retreat and student housing center situated on the campus of the University of Cape Town. During January, students are on summer break, so we will be the only residents. Kolbe House has a common building with a kitchen, living area, and chapel.
  • Homestays For three nights, we will stay with families in their homes in Guguletu, one of the older townships outside of Cape Town. Our bilingual, Xhosa- and English-speaking, hosts will share their stories and memories with us. They are ububele (kind) and uxolelo (forgiving) as they share the philosophy of ubuntu (I am because you are).
  • Volmoed The final three nights of our stay, we will be on retreat at a place called Volmoed, which means “full of courage” in Afrikaans. Here, students will have time and space to process the experience. We will also have a conversation with internationally renowned theologian, John de Gruchy, who lives in Volmoed’s small, intentional community.
  • it is said that poets write of beauty of form, of flowers, and of love but the words i write are of pain and rage i am no minstrel who sings songs of joy mine a lament I wail of a land hideous with open graves waiting for the slaughtered ones balladeers strum their lutes and sing tunes of happy times I cannot join their merriment my heart drowned in bitterness with the agony of what white man’s law has done Literature | Poetry: JAMES MATTHEWS
  • Literature | Novel: ALAN PATON
  • Literature | Memoir: RIAN MALAN
  • Music|Documentary: AMANDLA!
  • Visual Arts: SUE WILLIAMSON
  • Visual Arts: DIANE VICTOR
  • Visual Arts: KIM BERMAN
  • Regina Mundi Church Regina Mundi Church was the center of the resistance movement in Soweto, the southwestern townships outside of Johannesburg. During apartheid, churches were intended to be a sanctuary, a safe haven, where people could gather safely. But the government thought people were gathering in churches to overthrow the government. Regina Mundi bears the wounds of apartheid. Bullet holes can be seen on the ceiling, and the broken altar testifies to the violence of that era.
  • Hector Pieterson Museum On June 16, 1976, the children in Soweto intended to march peacefully from one school to another to protest the government’s decision that all education be conducted in Afrikaans. Since most children spoke Xhosa or Zulu, they protested this further act of brutality by the apartheid regime. Policeman barricaded the road, and then fired a shot. Hector Pieterson was the first of about 200 children who was killed. Democracy would not come for twenty more years.
  • Walter Sisulu Square About 3,000 people gathered in the dusty square in Kliptown in 1955 to adopt the Freedom Charter, which is now the basis of the South African constitution. The Square celebrates what township life is all about: its people, their spirit, their passion and aspirations, and their “vibration.” It is a heritage site in the new South Africa. We will visit the freedom charter, and enjoy lunch in the thriving market and square that has developed around this remarkable and significant historical site.
  • Voortrekker Monument The Voortrekker Monument commemorates the pioneer history of Southern Africa, and especially the history of the Afrikaner people. Inside, a marble historical frieze consists of 27 bas-relief panels depicting the history of the Great Trek. The panels illustrate key historical scenes starting from the arrival of the first voortrekkers in 1835, up to the signing of the San River Convention in 1852 when Britain formally recognized the Boer Republic, an agreement which was breached in 1877.
  • Freedom Park Freedom park stands as a memorial to democracy, which was founded on the values of dignity, human rights, and freedom. When complete, visitors will visit a vast wall commemorating those who have paid the ultimate price for freedom, an eternal flame paying tribute to the unknown and unsung heroes of the struggle, a gallery dedicated to the legends of humanity, and a symbolic resting place for those who have died. We’ll tour the park with a guide.
  • Nizamiye Masjid Mosque We will visit Nizamiye Mosque, the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere.
  • Constitution Hill We will visit Constitution Hill, where the new High Court is built upon an old prison. We will journey to Number Four, where visitors will learn what it means to be placed at the bottom of the racial hierarchy and how black men were treated as prisoners. The Women’s Gaol is where the likes of Winnie Mandela and Fatima Meer, among other political activists, were held. A tour through the court (where Oscar Pistorius was tried) outlines the symbolism of the site.
  • Central Methodist Mission We will visit Central Methodist Mission, where Bishop Paul Verryn has established a place to minister to the poor and marginalized in Johannesburg. Refugees— destitute, jobless, and homeless—flock to the Mission. The Church accommodates 1,500 refugees every night. They sleep on the pews, floors, and steps. There has been increasing tension between the police, church members, and immigrants due to xenophobia and frustration in the community. We’ll learn more in Joburg.
  • Apartheid Museum We will visit the Apartheid Museum which reenacts the rise and fall of apartheid. A series of 22 exhibits takes the visitor through a dramatic emotional journey that tells the story of a state- sanctioned system based on race—and its undoing.
  • District 6 We’ll fly from Joburg to Cape Town and, after a session with resistance poet, James Matthews, we’ll depart for the District 6 Museum, devoted to the living memory of a section of town that was leveled beginning in 1966 when residents were forcibly removed because it was declared a “white area” by the apartheid regime.
  • Cape Point Cape Point, with its rugged rocks and sheer cliffs, towers more than 200 meters above the sea, and cuts deep into the ocean, providing a spectacular background for the park’s rich bio-diversity. The scenic beauty of Cape Point is not its sole allure; it is also an international icon of great historical interest because of its maritime history. By night, and in fog, it was a menace. Beset by violent storms and dangerous rocks over the centuries, shipwrecks now litter the coastline.
  • Boulder’s Penguin Colony We will visit Boulder’s Penguin Colony. Near Simon’s Town, it is one of very few mainland penguin colonies, and is home to almost 3,000 penguins. There are few places on earth where you can get this close to a breeding colony of penguins. A boardwalk enables visitors to get very close. The flightless birds roam freely. Their nesting season is from February to August, and they molt in November and December. You’ll fall in love with these charming creatures.
  • Sunny Cove Manor We will visit with American resistance allies, Peter and Solveig Kjeseth, at Sunny Cove Manor. They fought for the liberation of Namibia—from the United States. The apartheid government was watching them, though, even in Denver. They have a fascinating story to tell, and they model what a life dedicated to justice looks like.
  • Zwane Center Most of our homestay families worship at the J. L. Zwane Church and Community Centre. A center of the resistance movement during apartheid, the church was among the first to oppose the stigma of HIV and AIDS, and started a support group for those living with an infection. We will worship in this thriving community.
  • Guguletu After church, we will begin a three-day immersion in the historically black townships outside of Cape Town, where there is a 70% rate of unemployment, and where 16% of the people are thought to be living with HIV. Mary Sili, an elder in the community, will welcome us to the community with some storytelling.
  • Philani Weaving Project We will visit the women who are weaving rugs, bags, and other amazing products for Philani Health and Nutrition Project, which is an NGO committed to responding to malnutrition, the “quiet emergency” which is the underlying cause of death for too many children in the developing world (12 million annually). The effect of HIV/AIDS is especially devastating in poor communities, where women’s and children’s health and nutrition status is precarious, at best. We’ll have time to shop at Philani.
  • St. Luke’s Hospice We will shadow community health workers who provide care to residents in the community living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and hyper-tension (high blood pressure). Groups of two- to three students will assist the “sisters,” nurses, at St. Luke’s who provide hospice care to residents in their shacks throughout Guguletu. This will be a hard but profound experience.
  • These Numbers Have Faces We will meet with Edwin Louw, and learn about the work of “These Numbers Have Faces,” an organization that provides post-secondary education to underprivileged scholars from the Cape Flats. We will also meet Wilmot Fredericks, who has resisted injustice through music— during apartheid and now in the democratic situation.
  • Scalabrini Centre The Scalabrini Centre welcomes refugees and asylum seekers to Cape Town —these days, mostly from the DRC and Zimbabwe. In the morning, we’ll assist the Centre with English-language testing, and then depart to ride a gondola up Table Mountain, Cape Town’s most prominent feature.
  • Table Mountain
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission We will meet with two of South Africa’s 17 TRC Commissioners: Glenda Wildschut and Zenzile Khoisan. Both will help us to understand the concepts of restorative justice and ubuntu—philosophies at the core of South Africa’s attempt to establish lasting peace after apartheid had fallen.
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Monkeybiz After worshipping, we hope, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the day will be spent at Greenmarket Square, where students can purchase gifts from all over Africa. Before a celebratory dinner at the Africa Café, which serves authentic African food, we’ll stop at Monkeybiz, an income- generating beading project for women living with HIV.
  • Streetwires We will also stop at streetwires, a fair-trade organization of people who work together to design, create, and market the finest wire and bead craft art. All of the art at streetwires is made by over sixty permanent employed artists who work full-time from their studios in Bokaap, Cape Town.
  • Bokaap, Cape Town We will see Bokaap, the Muslim quarter, where people painted their houses bright colors to resist apartheid’s law that Muslims wear only black and white.
  • Kirstenbosch Gardens Kirstenbosch is the name of a famous botanical garden nestled at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town, having more species of plants than any other garden in the world. Several trails lead up the mountain slopes, used by walkers and mountaineers to reach the summit of Table Mountain. The garden is a photographer’s delight.
  • Institute for the Healing of Memories Fr. Michael Lapsley founded the Institute for the Healing of Memories to help survivors of the brutalities of apartheid heal their memories. Lapsley himself was the victim of a mail bomb that blew off his hands and destroyed the vision in one of his eyes. After recovering, and when democracy had come, he knew how to serve his new country.
  • Robben Island We will depart early in the morning for the Waterfront, where we’ll take a ferry to Robben Island. Nelson Mandela was arrested for treason, and spent 27 years in prison— about ten of them on Robben Island. We’ll tour the prison, silently and prayerfully walking the island in solidarity with those who participated in the struggle.
  • HOPE Cape Town | Tygerberg Hospital Fr. Stefan Hippler is a chaplain serving at Tygerberg Hospital, which serves historically underprivileged people from its location in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, near areas formerly for those designated “colored” (which means of mixed race in South Africa.) The project we will visit assists women and children who are living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Aquila Safari We will go on two photographic safari drives about two hours from Cape Town.
  • Volmoed Retreat We will enjoy a three-day retreat to prepare for re-entry.
  • Franschhoek After we leave Volmoed, we’ll tour the rolling landscape of South Africa, South Africa’s famous wine country, stopping in the charming French colony of Franschhoek for the afternoon. Lastly, we’ll drive to Spier, where we’ll enjoy dinner in a tree house at Moyo before departing Cape Town on a late night flight to Minneapolis.
  • Fees and Tuition The course fee will be tuition, plus airfare, plus a fee. This is INCLUSIVE of MOST expenses (airfare, lodging, meals, tips, entry fees, and speaker fees). You’ll need about $300 for meals that are not included. Gifts, of course, are extra.
  • FINAL THOUGHTS . . . There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist fighting for peace by non-violent methods most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of activists neutralizes their work for peace. It destroys their own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fullness of their own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful. —Thomas Merton