detail - South Africa Office
Study and Information Program
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The South African society finds itself in times of societal and political uncertainty. Smoldering crises and conflicts, the problems of marginalized society groups and unresolved social grievances fight increasingly through protests for the public’s attention. Especially universities become more and more places for intense political, sometimes violent disputes that deal for example with the abolishment of monuments (“Rhodes Must Fall”-campaign) or the cultural identity of educational institutions (e.g. the demand for the abolition of Afrikaans as a teaching language). Furthermore, political debates again start to focus more on the burden of the not yet overcome impacts of Apartheid. These debates and disputes are often used for mobilization by radical political parties and deepen the still existing rifts between the cultures and parts of the population.
The study and dialog program deals with the question on how to overcome these existing rifts and enhance social cohesion through an analysis of the difficult past and the establishment of a commemorative culture. The participants will be taught the principles, instruments and successes of the German commemorative culture und will be encouraged to question the sometimes radical handling of their own history. The aim of a South African commemorative culture should be to not blind out the past but rather to use a responsible dealing with it for the establishment of a common identity.
The experiences gained during the study and dialog program should afterwards be embedded in educational events at universities and be implemented as part of the dialog program and seminars of the participating KAS partner organizations in South Africa.