The Maiden Trip

By Enyonam Osei-Hwere

In the spring semester of 2018, Dr. Enyonam Osei-Hwere led 13 undergraduate and 6 graduate students enrolled in the Global Media and Social Change course, Johnny Story, the broadcast engineer and 2 faculty members on a groundbreaking study abroad trip to Cape Town, South Africa ready to serve with the hope of making a difference.  This trip was one that left students with something unique, that one can only experience in the thick of the social climate of a post-apartheid, new democracy that is Cape Town, South Africa.

During the ten days in Cape Town, students immersed themselves in the culture and history of South Africa by working closely with three non-profits organizations: Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, Aspire Youth and The Big Issue. Students and faculty were split into three separate groups, working closely with each organization, and spent multiple days working in townships (impoverished towns where black Africans were relocated during the apartheid system of oppression) with local South Africans in Cape Town. Each group was responsible for creating media content including videos, social media sites along with other tools and resources, for their respective organizations to help with their goals and work in the community. Before departing for South Africa, the Department of Communication held a book drive during West Texas A&M University’s COMM Week of 2018, collecting more than 350 books for students to take to Cape Town.
The children’s books collected went to Christmas Tinto, with the adult books going to the community library at Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum.  While there, undergraduate student Sarah Young led a class- wide fundraiser to purchase new shoes for primary school children, raising $1,500. This was not only enough to buy new shoes for an entire grade at Hillcrest primary school in Mowbray, students also purchased sports equipment and new chess sets for children at Christmas Tinto primary school in Lwandle.

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