Name: Adebola Adeoti
University: Ulster University
Association of Commonwealth Universities Summer School hosted by Stellenbosch University, South Africa
‘The ACU Summer School was a transformative experience that seamlessly combined academia and adventure, creating a unique and unforgettable tapestry of memories. It was an experience that left me with a deeper understanding of South Africa's history and its ongoing journey towards reconciliation. The knowledge that I had acquired together with the friends that I made would forever be etched in my soul. Now, I carry within me not only memories but also the inspiration to be an agent of reconciliation and justice in my own community.’
The purpose of the program was to explore the profound topic of the Truth and Reconciliation journey of South Africa, delving deep into its apartheid past and the path to transitional justice.
· I participated in a guided tour of Stellenbosch University, where I immersed myself in Stellenbosch’s history and the role that the university played in perpetuating racial segregation during the apartheid era. However, learning about its transformation and efforts to address its past associations was a significant moment of understanding
· Kayamandi Experience: Visiting Kayamandi and the local library offered a raw and emotional insight into the lives of the black people living in the town and it highlighted the impact of apartheid's forced relocations and racial segregation.
· Stimulating Lectures: The intellectually stimulating lectures, especially the session on "Sensemaking as a born-free leader in post-apartheid South Africa," improved my knowledge on profound insights into the challenges faced by South Africa on its path to reconciliation and decolonization.
· Seeing the movie Skin at the Neelsie Cinema, which is based on the true-life story of Sandra Laing, a South African woman born to white parents but classified as Coloured (mixed-race) under the apartheid system due to her appearance. The movie depicts Sandra's life from her birth in the 1950s to her struggles growing up in a racially segregated society, where she faced discrimination and injustice due to her racial classification. In a thought-provoking cinematic experience, the movie explores the profound impact of the apartheid system on Sandra's identity, family, and relationships, as well as her fight for acceptance and recognition in a deeply divided society.
South Africa offers a wide range of traditional dishes, which is quite different from what I am accustomed to. However, trying local food was an exciting experience for me.
Participating in the ACU Summer School 2023 provided me with incredible opportunities to connect with individuals from diverse Commonwealth countries such as :Canada, Ghana, Fiji, Pakistan, India, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, and
Jamaica. Through these interactions, I formed meaningful friendships that have had a lasting impact on me.
Did you Travel to other Places
I explored the awe-inspiring Cape Point Lighthouse which offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding coastline and also saw a part of Table Mountain National Park . I also visited the adorable penguins at Boulders Penguin Colony which provided moments of appreciation for the country's natural beauty.
Visiting the Giraffe House, a wildlife awareness centre, was an enlightening experience. Immersed in the heart of nature, I enjoyed a 14-course African Tasting Menu at Gold restaurant, accompanied by mesmerizing musical and dance performances by local artists. The delightful array of wines at Clos Marlverne Wine Estate added to the memorable encounter, providing a true taste of South African flavours and culture.
I also visited the South African aquarium, where I marvelled at the diverse aquatic creatures inhabiting the waters. Additionally, I took the opportunity to learn more about the apartheid era at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation house, gaining valuable insights into South Africa's history.
Advice to Others
I highly recommend this enriching opportunity to anyone interested in acquiring knowledge about transitional justice, both within and beyond the confines of a classroom.