the 28th of January, the third year group of the South African
Philology left for a 3-week study trip to South Africa. TheMultiversity
the culmination of a year of developing concepts and proposals, looking
for sponsors and planning a route that would showcase as much as
possible of the South African reality - a cultural and physical
landscape of unequalled diversity.
families were on high alert as they said goodbye to the precious cargo
of KL1891 to Johannesburg - South Africa's reputation as a dangerous
and violent country is well-known. Especially Jo'burg carries the
unfortunate nick name 'Crime Capital of the World'. Adrenalin levels
were high as the plane touched down at OR Tambo International.
The trip was a series of ever-increasing surprises:
"Are all South Africans this friendly?" students would ask.
a beatiful place!" they would exclaim in Johannesburg, unaware that
Cape Town, Tsitsikamma and Coffee Bay would overshadow it.
Pretoria, the Polish ambassador made sure that his citizens were in
good hands, and hosted the group for an afternoon in the embassy. After
that it was off to universities: At the North-West University
(also a sponsor of the tour) and the University of Pretoria fruitful
academic exchanges led to open invitations from the rector and heads of
departments for students to pursue post-graduate studies in South
Africa, and for formal relations to be established between Adam
Mickiewicz and their respective institutions.
sites are too many to mention: the Apartheid museum, the Voortrekker
Monument, the Cradle of Humankind - in five short days a 2-million year
span of history was covered leading up to the very modern M-Net office
complex in Randburg, where we visited our friendly sponsors kykNET, and
filmed an insert for Polish sponsor Allegro.pl.
it was off to the beach - specifically the fascinating, largely Indian
city of Durban. Here students were enthralled to see muthi, traditional
South African medicine, being sold, sometimes in the form of skeletons,
animal hair, or finely ground 'something-of-an-organic-nature'. At the
Hindu temple complex they experienced once again the multicultural
nature of the South African landscape.
down the coast, the group spent a night in a traditional Xhosa hut in
the breath-taking town of Coffee Bay. Even the road to this village
gives on the authentic African experience - a mere 80 km takes 2 and a
half hours, during which the tour bus sometimes has to travel so slow
that it gets passed by horses at the side of the road.
the University of Fort Hare Susan Smith welcomed the tour group and
once again invited students to establish relations with their new
Department of Afrikaans, a sign of a new era at the historically black
university where great names like Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo
obtained their degrees.
the road to Cape Town a brief detour was taken to the semi-desert of
the Klein Karoo, where towns like Oudtshoorn and Barrydale dot a barren
but magical landscape. Pre-historic Khoisan fish traps were visited at
Still Bay, and then it was off to the southernmost point of the African
continent - Cape Agulhas, before arriving in the oldest city in South
Africa - Cape Town.
Town is itself a city of contrasts. Between the wealthy beach
neighbourhoods and the European-style university town of Stellenbosch,
lies the Cape Flats, a symptom of a difficult past and a challenge for
the future. With the Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans, a project
supported by our other sponsor, Media24, we experienced these troubled
immediate results of this tour - new contacts, exchange programmes,
media exposure and others - are being enjoyed at present. The effect on
the future careers of our students is a reward that will manifest
itself over time.
Here are some pictures from our recent study
trip to South Africa.
Click a picture to see a larger view.