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May 2015 - Discover: South Africa


In May 2015, BC alumni experienced the exotic natural beauty, rich cultural diversity and dramatic political history of one of the world’s most fascinating countries. Led by Dr. Jamie Frueh, chair of BC’s department of history and political science, the trip included:

  • Museums about apartheid, gold mining, Zulu culture and European exploration
  • Two safari drives and a naturalist boat tour
  • Cultural experiences in urban townships, rural homelands and a traditional Zulu village
  • Tours of the veld, coastal forest, mountains, semi-desert and beaches of two oceans
  • Optional bungee jumping
  • Wildlife expeditions including a lion park, an ostrich ranch, an elephant ride, bird and monkey sanctuaries and optional chances to pet baby cheetahs, cage-dive with crocodiles and dive with sharks
  • Beach relaxation
  • Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities
  • South Africa’s wine region
  • An optional add-on trip to Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world

Dr. Jamie Frueh: Faculty Guide


Dr. Jamie Frueh, chair of BC’s department of history and political science, led the group’s exploration of South Africa. He has spent more than two years in South Africa, written a book on the transition from apartheid to democracy and led travel courses there during Interterm.

Dr. Frueh’s book, Political Identity and Social Change, explores the social changes that accompanied the end of apartheid in South Africa.




South Africa Reading List

The books below provided context for the trip:

Non-fiction selections

Jamie Frueh, Political Identity and Social Change: The Remaking of the South African Social Order, State University of New York Press, 2003.

Antjie Krog, Country of My Skull. Three Rivers Press, 2000.
Andrew Feinstein, After the Party: A Personal and Political Journey inside the ANC, Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2007.
William Finnegan, Crossing the Line: A Year in the Land of Apartheid. Harper and Row, 1986.
Joseph Lelyveld, Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White, NY: Viking Penguin Books, 1985.
Rian Malan, My Traitor's Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face his Country, His Tribe, and his Conscience, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990.
Allister Sparks, Tomorrow is Another Country: The Inside Story of South Africa's Road to Change, U Chicago Press, 1995.
Allister Sparks, The Mind of South Africa: The Story of the Rise and Fall of Apartheid. Ballantine Books 1991.
Leonard Thompson, A History of South Africa, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.
Desmond Tutu, No Future without Forgiveness. Image 2000.
Jonny Steinberg Sizwe’s Test (also published as Three-Letter Plague) Simon and Schuster, 2010.
John Carlin, Playing the Enemy Penguin Books , 2008.
Jamie Frueh, Political Identity and Social Change: The remaking of the South African Social Order, SUNY Press 2003.

Biographies and Autobiographies

Nelson Mandela, A Long Walk to Freedom (Mandela’s autobiography).  Back Bay Books, 1995.
Mark Mathabane, Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography – The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa. Free Press 1998.
Anthony Butler, Cyril Ramaphosa. (South African businessman) Jacana Media, 2008.
Mark Gevisser, Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred. Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2007.


Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One. Ballantine Books, 1996.
Athol Fugard, Tsotsi: A novel, My Children My Africa or any of his other plays.
James Michner, The Covenant, Fawcett, 1987.
Percy Kirkpatrick, Jock of the Bushveld, lots of versions from the mid 20th century.
Alan Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country,
Olive Schreiner, Story of an African Farm.
Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to Our Hillbrow: A Novel of Post-Apartheid South Africa, 2011

Films to Supplement Your Reading

Invictus (2010) Film about  how Nelson Mandela used the Rugby World Cup to unite South Africa after the transition from apartheid.

Cry Freedom (1987) Drama about the real life relationship between South African black activist Steven Biko and sympathetic newspaper editor Donald Woods (later to become Steve Biko's biographer).

Sarafina! A musical about school children of Soweto and their resilient spirit in the face of death and repression.

The Power of One (1992) Set in a world torn apart, where man enslaves his fellow man and freedom remains elusive, this is the moving story of one young white man growing up in South Africa during World War II, Peekay turns to two older men, one black and one white, to show him how to find the courage to fight against unjustice.

Cry, the Beloved Country (1995) This moving adaptation of Alan Paton's celebrated novel stars James Earl Jones as a beloved, rural minister in South Africa who makes his first trip to Johannesburg in search of his son.

A Dry White Season (1989) Set  in the 1970s, at the time when the schoolchildren of Soweto, an African township outside Johannesburg, held a series of protests which culminated in the June 16, 1976 Soweto Uprising and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of children. They wanted to be educated in English, not Afrikaans
Tsotsi (2005) Captivating audiences worldwide, this compelling story of crime and redemption has earned countless awards around the globe. On the edges of Johannesburg, Tsotsi's life has no meaning beyond survival. One night, in desperation, Tsotsi steals a woman's car. But as he is driving off, he makes a shocking discovery in the backseat. In one moment his life takes a sharp turn and leads him down an unexpected path to redemption ... giving him hope for a future he never could have imagined.

Yesterday (2004) As beautiful as it is heartbreaking, the Oscar®-nominated drama Yesterday brings an intimate human perspective to the AIDS crisis in Africa. On the surface, it's a harsh and devastating story about bad things happening to good people, but such a limited description robs the film of its warmth and tender compassion.

Beat the Drum (2003) A young, orphaned boy sets out for the big city to find his uncle after a mysterious illness strikes his village. Driven by his determination to survive and his growing social awareness, he finds a way to make an honest living and returns to his village with a truth and understanding his elders have failed to grasp. An emotional and timely drama reminding us how one small voice can be the brave start of colossal change –uniting a village, a township, and even a nation.

Mapantsula which means "hustler" (1988) Mapantsula was the first anti-apartheid feature film by, for and about black South Africans. Filmed inside Soweto, scored to the urban beat of "Township Jive," Mapantsula tells the story of Panic, a petty gangster who becomes caught up in the growing anti-apartheid struggle and has to choose between individual gain and a united stand against the system. Mapantsula will give viewers an insider's tour of township life and a foretaste of the vibrant popular cinema promised by the new, democratic South Africa.

City Lovers/Country Lovers: The Gordimer Stories (1982) In City Lovers a middle-aged white geologist is enamored by the charms of a "colored" cashier girl. Soon their casual relationship is a tender love affair. In Country Lovers, Paulus, the son of a wealthy white farmer, and Thebedi, the daughter of a black farmhand, have been friends since childhood. As they grow older, they become increasingly intimate until eventually they are lovers ... secret lovers. In both films the lovers must suffer the consequences of their intimacy since the South African Immorality Act forbids social relationships between couples of mixed race.

A Walk in the Night (1998) A Walk in the Night is one of the first films from a new generation of talented young black South African filmmakers who have become active since the overthrow of apartheid in 1994.

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