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The South African Context


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A group of Stanford University students participated in an Overseas Studies Summer Seminar that took place in and around Cape Town, South Africa between Septemer 1-21, 2004. This web site describes and depicts many aspects of our journey, including some of the organizations, people, and sites we visited, along with descriptions of events and accounts of institutions or historical circumstances that are relevant to democratic advances in the new South Africa.We engaged in these activities with the explicit intention of listening carefully to South Africans from diverse backgrounds regarding their hopes and dreams for the future of their country. In so doing we have gained a fuller appreciation for their collective struggle to nurture freedom and equality for all South Africans.

We hope this web site may serve as a useful reference to anyone who would like to support the people of South Africa in their continued quest to overcome apartheid's traumatic legacy. Our venture began with overt knowledge of South Africa's national language policy, which includes eleven official languages. We also had the exceptionally good fortune to attend Nelson Mandela's inspiring presention at the 5th annual lecture in honor of Steven Biko at the University of Cape Town on September 10, 2004. Each student who participated in this seminar has selected a topic, or topics, of personal interest that offers insights into dimensions of the formidable challenges still facing this complex nation.

In an effort to lend assistance to all South Africans we introduced two programs from the United States that have supported citizens from low income backgrounds, including "Raising a Reader" and the "National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship."

Raising a Reader advances family literacy by advocating lap-reading to young children by their parents to enhance early brain development and to instill a life-long love of reading.

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship teaches young people, who are typically high school students from low income backgrounds, how to create and sustain their own business(es).

We also had a wonderful opportunity to visit the Amy Biehl Foundation and Trust, along with a guided tour of several of their projects housed in the townships of Langa, Guguletu and Khyelitsha.

We hope our modest contributions may be beneficial to you, and, ultimately, to the people of South Africa.

John Baugh

Professsor of Education
and, by courtesy, Lingusitics
Stanford University,

September 21, 2004