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4 posts categorized "UCT"


Mandela day: More than 67 meaningful minutes

Mandela day has been held annually for the past 5 years in celebration of a living legend. He gave 67 years of his life in service to humanity and it was seen as a great tribute to this man for people across the world to spend 67 minutes of their day in the same spirit.

We decided to combine the forces of the different programmes at the Cape Town study centre and celebrate that spirit of service to humanity. We gathered students from our Summer, Service Learning and Arts & Sciences programmes and committed to spending more than 67 meaningful minutes.


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Manenberg Primary is located in the Manenberg area of Cape Town. The school caters to 600 students across grades 1 - 7. The school has been looking to paint their walls and prepare them for mathematical games to be painted on so that there are games to be played outside the classroom that improve their math skills and supplement their learnings in class.

We decided to lend a helping hand and a paint roller to this noble plan. A number of students came out over the course of the cold day and helped to complete the painting. Despite the having to end a bit earlier than planned, we were able to cover a considerable amount of wall.

It was fantastic to be able to spend time with the children and teachers, have them join in the painting and make a visible impact at the school.




The Haven Shelter is a soup kitchen in the Greenpoint area of Cape Town. Greenpoint is an area that our students are usually exposed to through it's night life and restaurants but it is also in this town that The Haven operates. The shelter feeds and houses approximately 130 people daily.

We decided to treat our the people at the shelter to a traditional curry and rice. Evidence from the empty pots at the end of the night suggests that the meals were thoroughly enjoyed. It was also a great time for students to connect with he community and get a better understanding of their surroundings. An opportunity to enage with a different txperience that they can embrace and later use to educate others.


Check out for all the pictures

Update: In my quest to post this, I also dicovered this blog post by a student!


Fall 2013 Orientation: Wamkelekile!

After much preparation and planning things finally kicked off with airport pickups on 2 July 2013.  The RAs sang traditional South African songs of welcome at the airport, melodically ushering our newest group of students onto African soil.
Orientation covered an array of topics: housing, safety and security, community engagement, cultural immersion and more - staff members came up and gave talks on all the topics - this was again facilitated by the ever capable RAs.
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A definite highlight was the AMA - zing race (sometimes mistaken for it's cousing the Amazing Race). Prizes varied from dinner at Africa Cafe to trips along the Garden Route, all of which was welcome! "If it's free, it's for me!"
In between all this there was still ample time to go exploring in the city and catch a sunset from Signal Hill!
The week ended off with dinner at the renowned Moyo's Restaurant at the Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. It was a chance for face painting, great food, great music and a family celebration of the end of Orientation and the beginning of five unforgettable months.
Whilst on the dancefloor someone was quoted as saying "It's time like these I really wish I knew how to crump"...she has five months to learn that and more from this city!
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For more pictures check out CIEE Cape Town Study Centre in Pictures


The AMA-zing team dinner at the Africa Café

The first week of orientation at UCT holds a special event that fosters team bonding, friendship building, and most of all a hungry appetite. The AMA-zing race is a campus wide scavenger hunt that our team of ten conquered even while running up and down the mountain we like to call campus. The prize for first place was an all expenses paid team dinner at the Africa Café in downtown Cape Town, one that last Thursday night we all enjoyed greatly!

We arrived at the Africa Café in style with our team Leader Moyo Ngubula in pre-arranged transport to and from the restaurant. We were escorted to a private room upstairs and started the night off with a delicious selection of local wines and fresh juices.

We were excited to hear that our entire dinner would be a semi-blind tasting as we did not order from a menu but rather were served a variety of dishes the restaurant places on their prepared menu, which just so happens to be on the sails of the centerpieces. The restaurant is based on the idea that one should experience the flavors of Africa all at once and we definitely did! From Cairo to Cape Town and back again the food kept coming and our taste buds were fully impressed.

We sampled seafood, vegetables, and a variety of meat dishes prepared in a countries particular style while the server explained to us their differences and ingredients. One of our favorite dishes? The first course bread plate that included Vetkoek, a fried spongy bread that is slightly sweet, warm, and reminiscent of a delicious doughnut. For both vegetarians and meat lovers alike the meal was a great success.

The Winning Team
It pays to be a winner: The winning team of the AMA-zing Race at Africa Cafe. Photo by Helen Boyer.

Our faces were painted, the staff put on a marvelous show, and hospitality was at its best. This restaurant is truly about experience rather than eating, granted that part is amazing too. Our team had fun catching up and I think I can speak for all of us in saying that all that running really did pay off in the end!


Iona Musgung is a student from the University of Oregon.


Dance, sweat and fears...

Before I begin, I have to first give credit for this to my friend Alex. She, after hearing our dance instructor say this, made a mental note to write a blog entry about it, so I borrowed her mental note, because I wanted to share all of this with everyone at home too!

So, we’re in the middle of our African Dance (for semester study abroad students, making it a lot easier for us to just let loose and not worry because it’s new to all of us) class, and we were doing some across the floor combinations. The instructor, for the first couple of lines, would be doing the steps just as he taught them. Oddly enough, though, as he continued going with more lines, he would start improvising and moving in whatever way he felt like moving. Some were disconcerted & confused, as they were relying on him to follow the steps that they weren’t exactly understanding (African Dance – pretty different from anything you do in the States). So, he came over, and said this to us:

I’m in a different mode… Or what is it you say… frequency? Yes, I’m on another frequency.

One of my favorite things about this African Dance class is that we are constantly reminded just to let go. Central to the dance form we are learning is an appreciation of the music, of how the dance is just an extension of the music, and how dance is interactive and fun for an audience. Too many times we, as students, are caught up in the intricacies of footwork, of arm placement, and of distance being traveled. Too much worry breeds an inability to focus on expressing yourself; instead, you’re just trying to become perfect (a la Nina Sawyer in Black Swan). We are all guilty at times of partially driving ourselves mad trying  to nail a step. However, what that statement tells me is that there is something missing in that style of dancing: there’s no fun.

African Dance (whatever that may be – in our lecture we have debated the idea of what is African Dance, but for all intents and purposes here I’m just using African Dance as a generally name for the specific styles we’re learning) is about fun.

That’s why we need to let ourselves go – we need to be able to get out of our own heads and enjoy the dance. Our focus was all in the wrong place, and once that was pointed out, everything changed for me. No longer was I trying to be one of the few who can nail a combination, to show that I was paying attention and caring. I let go yesterday. And while I did end up making some slight mistakes on some of the combinations, I didn’t care.

That’s brand new for me. All I did was have fun, and the feelings, the expression, and the energy began to flow. I think my instructor could sense it, because he was feeding off the energy as well. African Dance is about an exchange of energies, and I finally got to the place where my energy is ready to be exchanged (as strange as that sounds).

Although this lesson mostly applies to African Dance, I think it’s a perfect metaphor for how Cape Town is changing me. I used to be slightly anal retentive, paranoid about doing something wrong, always worried that I was going to be unable to live up to expectations in school, with friends, and in other aspects of my life.

After coming to Cape Town, I’ve learned perhaps the most important lesson I needed to learn: chill. There’s no need to be rushing around everywhere, and no need to be psyching myself out about acing an exam.  While I am here to learn, I’m also here to take advantage of everything Cape Town has to offer me. So while that may mean skipping class every once in a while to go to the beach, or missing out on some hanging out with friends to go volunteer, I’m no longer worried about what I could be doing, or what I should be doing better.

Thank you Cape Town, for finally making me see that I just need to live on the frequency of the music, need to just do what naturally comes to me, need to embrace every opportunity that comes my way. But most importantly, thank you for throwing some black swan into my white swan’d self.


168715_1866092897215_1387800043_32260737_2189714_n Thomas Delay is a student from the George Washington University.