Group Photo.

Media and Transitions in South Africa

Front row: Prof. Toni Locy, Katie Monks, Colin Wallace, Elizabeth Mugo, Caroline Boras, Wan Wei, Prof. Dayo Abah and Lindsay Castleberry. Second row: Myers McGarry, Claire Hoffert, John Tompkins, Mohini Tangri, Abby Thornton and Maggie Dick. Third row: Rachel Stone and Nicole Eldred. Photo by Ellen Kanzinger.

As one of the world’s youngest democracies, post-apartheid South Africa faces enormous challenges as its people and leaders grapple with ethnic, religious and language differences, struggle with the influx of immigrants, and cope with disillusioned young people who can’t find jobs in the nation’s fragile economy.

This course, Journalism 295, was designed to allow students to immerse themselves in a country with stark contrasts in its politics, its long history of oppression, and its people’s persistent hope for the future.

Based in Johannesburg, students on the journalism track chose to report and produce multimedia stories about a grassroots movement among South African students to protest increases in the costs of higher education in their country.

Students pursuing the strategic communications track chose to work with two non-governmental organizations, the Jo’burg Child Welfare and the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development, producing news letters, press releases, among other communications-related tasks.

We also spent weekends at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, west of Pretoria, and in Cape Town.

The course’s professors are Dayo Abah ( and Toni Locy (