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About the project

Johannesburg, the African City is a collaboration between Northwestern University Libraries and Evanston Township High School. The goal is to provide students with a greater contextual understanding of contemporary South African literature through a combination of discovery, conversation, research, and interactive experience. This website is the home to the project and will provide a place for students and facilitators to have an open dialogue on the topics of South African literature, culture, and society. This educational initiative was made possible through the tremendous support and funding from Northwestern University Libraries, Title VI funding via Northwestern University’s Program of African Studies, and funding from Northwestern University Neighborhood and Community Relations.

About Northwestern University Libraries

Northwestern University Libraries serve the Evanston, Chicago and Qatar campuses by providing access to more than 5 million books; 3.5 linear miles of manuscripts, archives and unique materials; and tens of thousands of journals, databases and periodicals. Their distinctive holdings include the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, which houses more than 250,000 rare materials ranging from Mesopotamian tablets to one of the largest second-wave feminism collections in the country; the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, the world’s largest collection of materials relating to Africa; and the Music Library, recognized internationally for its commitment to 20th-century classical music and the John Cage Notations Collection.

Project Contributors

Alan Anderson, Executive Director, Northwestern University Neighborhood and Community Relations

Alan Anderson is the Executive Director of Northwestern University Neighborhood and Community Relations.  In his role, he serves as the University’s primary liaison to the Evanston community. The Executive Director serves as a key strategic advisor to senior leadership to create opportunities for the University to build strong, supportive partnerships with Evanston residents, community organizations, schools, civic and business groups, and local government. Alan can be reached at


Aaron Becker, Teacher, Evanston Township High School

Aaron Becker has taught African Studies, Global Perspectives, and World History at Evanston Township High School for the past twenty years. A 2007 Golden Apple winner, he stresses authentic experiential learning that exposes students to language, arts and popular culture as essential components of history. Aaron has spent time in five African countries, and has used new technologies to introduce his students to people all over the world, from famous authors to everyday folks on the street.  Aaron can be reached at


Erik Ponder, Library Assistant, Northwestern University Libraries

Erik Ponder has worked at Northwestern University Libraries for over sixteen years. He has traveled extensively throughout Africa and has over twenty years’ experience traveling the continent. He was an international election observer for South Africa’s historic 1994 democratic elections. And, he has conducted research in South Africa on the nation’s transition to democracy from Apartheid rule. Erik has directed several educational outreach projects with students in the broader Chicago area and enjoy engaging and teaching students about Africa. Erik can be reached at


Amy Settergren, Outreach Coordinator, The Program of African Studies

Amy Settergren is the outreach coordinator for Northwestern’s Program of African Studies. She oversees K-12 educational outreach programs as part of Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grant that PAS holds in consortium with the Center for African Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a Northwestern History and PAS alumna whose work is on Ghana. She has taught African history courses at several area colleges and universities. Amy can be reached at

Project partners

Amy Settergren, Erik Ponder, Aaron Becker, Alan Anderson

Web support was provided by Lauren McKeen, Web Manager at Northwestern University Libraries.