Over the course of eight weeks, you engage in rigorous intellectual exploration, in both formal and informal settings throughout the country, from a multidisciplinary perspective. The program investigates South Africa’s experience as a new democracy; the cultural, economic, and political past-and-present of its indigenous populations; and what its contemporary history has to teach the world at large about a range of critical social issues.
South Africa provides a fascinating and unique context within which to examine African societies and cultures, and to understand the legacy of colonialism on twenty-first-century social and political institutions. This program uses various locales across the nation-state—from Cape Town to Johannesburg, from the Kruger National Park to the Hamakuya chiefdom—to introduce you to contemporary Africa.
The first six weeks of the program include intensive coursework as well as a proseminar, which will include lectures by major South African public intellectuals and excursions to sites of historical and cultural significance. For the remaining weeks, you embark on a pedagogic safari, traveling to the northeastern edges of the country to experience life in a rural chiefdom as well as explore the Kruger National Park.
The program is led by a team of professors and supported by additional local staff. It aims to create a reflective environment for you to relate your experiences and, thus, gain a deeper understanding of your life back home in the United States.
Jean Comaroff, PhD, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, Harvard University
John Comaroff, PhD, Hugh K. Foster Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, Harvard University
You must be at least 18 years old, have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student, and be in good academic standing to apply.
The application materials, outlined below, are due January 28, 2016:
- A completed online application (available in early December) that includes:
- A $50 nonrefundable application fee
- A statement of interest in the program, including information on relevant coursework and travel experience abroad (previous travel is not a prerequisite)
- Transcripts (student record accepted for Harvard students)
Successful candidates will be asked for interviews.
You will be notified of admission decisions by mid-February.
There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The program cost includes the following:
- Accommodation and some meals, including all meals in the Kruger National Park and Hamakuya Chiefdom
- Excursions (including meals when appropriate)
In addition to the program fee, you are responsible for:
- A health insurance fee (waived if you have US insurance that provides coverage outside the United States)
- Transportation to and from South Africa, as well as domestic flights in South Africa
- The cost of passports and visas (if the latter is needed). US citizens will enter on a visitor visa for free.
- Any immunizations
How to pay and funding options
See Payment and Funding for payment deadlines, deposit amounts, and more information, including funding options for Harvard College students.
You will live in various housing arrangements at different points of the program. While in Cape Town and Johannesburg, the group stays in guest houses. You then stay in rest or research camps while in the Kruger National Park. While at the Hamakuya chiefdom, you split your time between a tented research camp and a homestay.
You must be in sufficiently robust physical condition to cope with a rural homestay.
Watch this video by Julia Dratel, a former program attendee, on her experiences in Cape Town.