While looking through the lens of faith, this experiential program enables students to understand culture and democracy in the Sub Saharan Africa region. It examines the common trends from pre-colonial times through to the modern day. Though the Zimbabwean situation will be the primary point of reference, other countries are also explored, with a deep look into how worldview impacts on the politics of African nations and how individuals within those nations respond to matters of faith.
This program incorporates discussion times and lectures with embassy dignitaries, church leaders, anthropologists, missionaries, justice advocates and leaders of humanitarian organizations. In a context in which many experience systemic corruption and injustice, students will have the opportunity to spend time with those fighting for the rights of the voiceless.
The program is strongly designed around practical engagement with many field experiences in order to help students compare the theoretical aspects of the program with reality. We will examine some of the fundamental differences between individualistic and collectivist cultures. We explore their respective strengths and weaknesses and examine the way in which Christian worldview overlays culture.
This stunningly beautiful and exotic part of Africa was a primary region of focus for the great missionary explorer – Dr David Livingstone. To enhance the learning experience, excerpts from David Livingstone’s journals form an integral part of the daily reflection time and activities. As we engage with a number of traditional, rural communities we will retrace his steps along the Zambezi valley, much of which is little changed from his exploration of it 150 years ago.
A good command of the English language is essential to participate in this program as all lectures and tutorials will be conducted in English. Those enrolling in this program will ideally have a background in some of the following: anthropology, psychology, sociology, theology, politics or other related fields. In order to thrive and be able to experience the full benefits of this program, participants ought to be culturally-aware and open-minded.
Students are stationed in Harare for the first fifteen days of the program which consists mainly of theory lessons and discussions. They are hosted at ‘The Team House’ in the low-density suburb of Mt Pleasant, Harare. Lectures are held in various locations around the city with field trips and excursions around the country in different towns; Selous, Masvingo, Gweru, Bumi Hills and Victoria Falls. There is a homestay option to enhance the cultural experience of students. Here they spend time in a local home setting and have a chance to converse and gain insight into the residents’ worldview. This helps them to see how this worldview affects their political understanding and social standing.
Students are equipped with:
- Insight into African history, traditions and culture
- A comprehension of the differences between individualistic cultures (predominantly western) and collectivist cultures (animistic in this context) and how they interact with worldviews based on faith
- A basic knowledge of the key problems and questions around which African politics revolves
- The fundamental conceptual, theoretical and analytical tools used in considering national social contexts
- An understanding of the role and work of the church, diplomatic missions and non-profit organizations in affecting change in African countries
- An understanding of how democracy and justice outwork themselves within an African context.
Key Study Topics
- A faith-based approach to governance, politics, human rights and the constitution
- Animistic culture and its interaction with a faith-based worldview
- Traditional subsistence African culture
- Cross-cultural communities and societal change
- African History (Pre-colonial to today)
- Impact and changes in education and land reform
- Rural development and welfare NGOs
- Cross-cultural engagement observation
- Group/individual presentation
- Assignment to be submitted on the 15th day based on the topic of own choice designed around the guidelines presented by the program coordinator
Possible Career Paths
This program is of interest to those who are pursuing careers in anthropology, education, journalism, governance, human rights, legislative advocacy, politics, community organization, theology, world missions, law and law enforcement and a variety of other areas. The options are broad because this program and prerequisite background study are designed to equip students with the ability to interact well in a cross-cultural context and foster critical thinking.
We will help by supplying you with all the necessary documentation and supporting information you will need to apply for credit through your home university or college.
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Last updated September 3, 2018