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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Number of Credits Offered: 3
Eligible Population: Graduate Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Schar School of Policy and Government Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Political, Economic & Social Challenges in Africa

South Africa, Summer 2019

Cape Town city view

This study-abroad course examines the political, economic, social and security challenges confronting South Africa today, twenty years after its emergence as a multi-party democracy. These include poverty alleviation, black economic empowerment, education, land, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and the environment. The course also explores South Africa in its regional setting, with specific attention to issues such as Zimbabwe, regional integration through SADC (Southern African Development Community), efforts at peacekeeping and conflict resolution (Democratic Republic of Congo), and South Africa as a continental power driving NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development). An examination of trade and investment issues affecting the country’s international position, including the country’s membership in BRICS, brings a global perspective.

Classes take place in Pretoria (on the campus of the University of Pretoria), with lectures by a variety of specialists, including academics and practitioners. Formal sessions are complemented by various site visits, governmental and non-governmental, to encourage a more comprehensive understanding of the multi-faceted issues affecting the country and society. The program aims to provide context for understanding the rapid change that South Africa has experienced during the past twenty years and the dynamic nature of the country as Africa’s powerhouse.

Students earn a Certificate of Completion from the University of Pretoria as well as 3 credits from the Schar School. 
Sponsored by Schar School of Policy and Government


This program is open to all graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and faculty members including those who do not attend or work at George Mason University.


  • ITRN 702: Special Topics in Study Abroad

Program Dates*

May 20 - May 31, 2019


Program Itinerary*

May 20 Individual Arrival/Check-in at Brooklyn Guesthouse (132 Murray Street Brooklyn, Pretoria. T: +27 12 362 1728 C: +27 84 252 4626). From the JNB airport, take an uber/taxi or the Gautrain to Hatfield Station ( 

6.00pm Group dinner at Brooklyn Guesthouse

7.00pm Welcome Dinner & Orientation Session with Dean Maxi Schoeman and Heather Thuynsma at Brooklyn Guesthouse  
May 21 Breakfast at your leisure 

Departure for the University of Pretoria (UP). Ten-minute walk; if you need special transportation please book in advance. 

An Overview of the South African Elections, Dr. Sithembile Mbete, Dept. of Political Sciences, UP. 

Free time: Lunch break on campus

An Overview of the South African Economy, Dr. Tinashe Kapuya and Wandile Sihlobo, University of Johannesburg

Coffee/Tea break

The Water Crisis in South Africa, Mr. Dhesigen Naidoo, CEO, Water Research Commission  

Group Dinner at Brooklyn Guesthouse
May 22 Visit Biobank at Ukutula

Walk with the Lions

Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own)
May 23 Breakfast at your leisure 

Departure for the University of Pretoria (UP). Ten-minute walk; if you need special transportation please book in advance. 

HIV and AIDS in the context of South African health policy, Mr. Pierre Brouard, Deputy-Director, Centre for the Study of Sexualities, AIDS and Gender, UP 

Coffee/Tea break 

Branding South Africa, Ambassador Kingsley Makhubela (PhD), CEO, Brand South Africa 

Free time: Lunch break on campus

The Land issue in South African politics, Mr. Roland Henwood, Dept. of Political Sciences, UP 

Coffee/tea break
South African Education, Mr. Andre du Plessis, Faculty of Education, UP 

South Africa’s foreign policy, Mr. Kaya Somgqeza

Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own)
May 24 South Africa’s Approach to Security Policy, Colonel Robin Blake (retired), Department of Political Sciences, UP 

Coffee/Tea break 

Ensuring Food Security in South Africa and the Southern African (SADC) region, Dr. Nokuthula Vilakazi and Ms. Elizabeth Mkandawire: Centre for Food Security, UP 

Free time: Lunch break on campus

Health policy in South Africa 

Prof. Tessa Marcus, Faculty of Health Sciences

Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own)
May 25 Lecture by Sydney Montana (at Guesthouse)

Departure for Hammanskraal Township Visit, Orphanage 

Group lunch followed by a drive through the city of Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, visiting the Union Buildings and passing the Voortrekker Monument, which dominates the Pretoria skyline. 

Traditional ‘braai’ group dinner with students from UP (at guesthouse)
May 26 Breakfast at your leisure 

Departure to Johannesburg 

Possible Election Poll visit in either Pretoria or Johannesburg 

Apartheid Museum (Bring student ID) 

Lunch at Apartheid Museum 

Trip through Soweto. Visit an informal settlement, the Hector Pieterson Museum and Nelson Mandela’s house 

Dinner at Soweto Restaurant

Return to Pretoria 
May 27 Morning Flight.

Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own).
May 28 Robben Island

Cape of Good Hope Tour

Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own).
May 29 Lectures TBA, Afternoon Free (optional tours can be arranged)
May 30 Wrap-up and General Q&A; Discussion of individual paper topics, Profs Thys van Schaik and Maxi Schoeman 

Tour of District Six. Visit museum (

Black Empowerment Visit, Group Lunch. Farewell Event/ Presentation of Certificates

Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own).
May 31 Individual Check-out or Day Safari.
*Instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule as needed

Important Dates * Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost (Summer 2019): $4,500

Please review the information below to see the program fee details.

  • Tuition (3 credits)
  • Accommodations 
  • In-country travel to all program activities
  • All lectures and seminars
  • Group flight to Cape Town
  • Some meals
  • International Emergency Insurance
Not Included:
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Other transportation
  • Some meals
  • Personal spending

Program Payments

Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."

Non-Mason Students: Non-Mason students must be admitted to the University and assigned a student number prior to making payments. Please submit the "Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form" during the application phase in order to begin this process.

Refund and Cancellation Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Refund and Cancellation Policy.

Application Deadline:

April 15th, 2019


Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Contact Information

Program Officer

Michal McElwain Malur

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 04/15/2019 ** Rolling Admission 05/20/2019 05/31/2019

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.