Study Abroad in South Africa

Immerse yourself in the culture of South Africa over winter break! Spend 10 days in Cape Town with other MU students exploring the history and ongoing legacies of racialized rule. Led by Dr. Merve Fejzula and Dr. Matthew Frierdich, you will examine the nexus between race and politics in the history of South Africa through seminars, guest lectures and tours. Examples of places you’ll visit include:

  • Slave Lodge Museum
  • Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
  • District Six Museum
  • Robben Island
  • Cape Peninsula

Following your time in South Africa, coursework will continue into the spring semester on campus on Mondays from 3-5:20pm.

Applications for the “Race & Politics in South Africa” January 2024 intersession study abroad program are now closed and will re-open in fall for the 2025 trip and class.


You will be enrolled in one MU course for three credits.

BL_STU/HIST/CNST_DEM 4835/4835H or 7835: Race and Politics in South Africa (3)

Between 1948 and 1994, race was the formal organizing principle of the South African state. However, way before the institutionalization of the policy of Apartheid in 1948, race had underlined social, economic and political relations in what is now South Africa. Significantly, democratic South Africa is still grappling with the legacies of racialized rule. This course is about the nexus between race and politics in the history of South Africa. Organized around seminars, guest lectures and tours, the course will introduce you to how scholars have understood race and politics in this Southern African nation. It further examines the social and economic context in which race was deployed as an instrument of making difference and exercising power and how this is contested. Finally, the course examines the legacies of racialized rule in democratic South Africa.

Coursework will consist of a study abroad portion during winter break and will continue into the spring semester with a mixture of twice-weekly in-person and virtual sessions.

This course is cross-listed with Constitutional Democracy, Black Studies and the Honors College.

Note on Academic Credit

You will be enrolled in an actual MU course. You are guaranteed to receive MU credit for successfully completed courses; however, you must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how courses might fulfill degree requirements.

MU students: Grades will calculate into your MU GPA and appear on your MU transcript when grades are recorded by the program leader. You must work with your academic adviser(s) to determine how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Accommodations and Meals

You will stay in student residences located near the University of Cape Town in a student-friendly part of the city. You will have a private single room with an ensuite bathroom and kitchenette. Facilities include a gym, cooking facilities and outdoor areas.


You will travel with the group, but will have opportunities to explore some sites independently during your time abroad. Group travel will likely include:

  • Slave Lodge Museum: Tour of slave lodge, one of Cape Town’s oldest buildings.
  • Institute for Justice and Reconciliation: South African organization with a focus on promoting social justice and fostering reconciliation to address the country’s historical injustices.
  • District Six neighborhood tour: Half-day tour of the Observatory and Woodstock neighborhoods, including a guided tour of the District Six Museum.
  • City walking tour: Half-day guided walking tour.
  • Bo-Kaap cooking tour: Learn how to cook a traditional Cape Malay meal in the Muslim quarter (Bo-Kaap) of Cape Town with a local cook.
  • Robben Island: Half-day tour of the island and prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.
  • Peninsula tour: Full day scenic drive along Cape Peninsula to the most southwestern point of Africa (Cape Point), including a trip to view Seal Island and a visit to the penguins at Boulders Beach.