Educational and Social Reform (South Africa)
Photos and Captions by Athena Maikish
This past summer, 23 students from Steinhardt’s programs in international education, sociology of education, higher education, and others traveled together to South Africa to learn about educational and social reform efforts in the post-apartheid era. Our program included lectures by Steinhardt faculty, a South African social activist, and a South African government official, as well as field trips to museums and historical sites. On one of our trips to a local school, the Nellmapius Primary School in Mamelodi Township in Pretoria, South Africa, students greeted us with an assembly full of song and dance upon our arrival to the school. Later that day, we unveiled a new library for the school, which Daisy Alfaro, a master’s student in sociology of education, had organized and donated. On a past Educational and Social Reform trip, Christina Lopez, a doctoral student in the same program, had recognized the school’s need for a library. Daisy and Christina collected funds in the States to finance the project. Once she arrived in South Africa, Daisy and a few students secured a portable container and purchased over 350 books, supplies, and furniture for the library. Daisy and Christina continue to fundraise with hopes of filling the library in the future.
Dressed in traditional attire, South African and world-renowned Ndebele music star, Nothembi Mkhwebane, shared her talent with music for us for a few hours one afternoon at our guest house in Pretoria, South Africa NYU Steinhardt student, Lindsay Daschle, used the music to learn some new moves in African dancing.
A double exposure view of two very different school yards in South Africa. The black and white image represents the yard and students from Nellmapius Primary School in Mamelodi Township while the color image is of students from the Afrikaner Hoer School in Pretoria, which several of us also visited. Although the two schools are only a short distance from each other, the opportunities available to students from each differs greatly. At the same time, though, both groups of students showed an exhilarating drive for education and learning.
Nosipho Khoza, age 16, lets her emotions show when she became overwhelmed by our visit and donation of food supplies and gifts to her home that she shares with five orphans and a caretaker. Nosipho is the oldest girl in a family brought together not by their genes but by the passing of each of their parents to AIDS, a common occurrence in modern-day South Africa. Each orphan lost his/her parents to AIDS and the elder brought them together under one roof to construct a new family. With the soon expected death of this elderly caretaker, Nosipho will take on the sole responsible for feeding, clothing, and looking after the other orphans as she is the oldest member of this newly formed family.
Alexis Hoffman, an elementary school teacher from Greenwich Village in New York City, along with several NYU Steinhardt students, listens to our guide's explanation at Lesedi Cultural Village. Lesedi offered us the opportunity to walk through several pre-set cultural villages modeled to represent different ethnic architectures and ways of life in South African culture.