Rebekah Williams, Public Health in South Africa, Spring 2014
As our quarter winded down to an end our excursions slowed and our finals picked up pace. Yes in fact we did have papers to write and presentations to prepare for. But like everything else in South Africa there was a silver lining! The work we were tasked with was structured to make us reflect on experiences in South Africa. Our assignments included things like reflective journals about our trips to JoBurg and our time in the Western Cape as well as community presentations about our work and constructive criticism about our service learning projects.
One of my favorite assignments was the final paper for the Contemporary South Africa: A Political Economy class. The paper asked to analyze a specific policy currently in place in South African law and consider the impact of its implementation. Students were asked to consider the audience the policy affected and who was ignored. In addition they also were asked to consider the role of the public and civil sector in the diction of the policy. For my paper I chose to focus on policy addressing violence against women, specifically analyzing the Domestic Violence Act of 1998. Although my understanding of South African politics is quite limited and basic, the lectures throughout the course by the course professor provided me with a solid foundation. I was prepared to sort through research and policy papers on the subject with a basic knowledge of abbreviations of political parties and key legislative players. This was key in trying to sort through the information I found buried in online archives. At the end of the paper I closed with more questions than answers about the future of South African politics but this left me eager to crack open another book on the history of this beautifully complex nation.