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  • Locations: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Program Terms: Summer, Summer 1 & 2
  • Budget Sheets: Summer, Summer 1 & 2
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Campus Housing Number of Credits Offered: 3-6
Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Sociology, Honors, Government and International Policy, African and African American Studies, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Global Affairs, History, Integrative Studies Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Chains and Change: African Social Justice and Entrepreneurship

South Africa, Summer 2021

Man looking over Cape Town
The Chains & Change program allows students to critically examine African resilience through in-depth study of Afropolitanism, social justice and entrepreneurship. The program, housed at the University of Cape Town, consists of two sessions which will each offer one course over two weeks. Students will have the opportunity to participate in one or both sessions.

Session I: In the first course, "Afropolitanism," students connect Africa's past to its present by examining both the historical and contemporary context of slavery, colonialism, heritage, politics, and citizenship in Africa. Students gain an understanding of the way history shapes the character of particular communities in Africa and how slavery and colonialism were fundamental to their creation. This examination of the human face of slavery is a journey into the history of indigenous peoples’ dispossession and enslavement - a history that lingers over both the descendants of the enslaved and the descendants of the slaveholders. Lectures will give historical, sociological, psychological contexts to slavery, colonialism and dispossession, as well as intergenerational trauma. Topics will raise questions about life in post-apartheid South Africa, the culture of protests and redefining identity.

Session II: The second course, "Social Justice and Entrepreneurship," introduces students to issues of social justice in the context of inclusive governance in Africa. Students have the opportunity to hear from practitioners working in the area of social justice and look at the root causes of current injustices – be they in terms of distribution of wealth, opportunities, resources and privileges – examining gender, race, class, and sexuality as sites of power difference. The course includes site visits to the townships of Khayelitsha and Phillipi to have a closer assessment of social development challenges in the African context. Importantly the course focuses on the people and local communities who, through their everyday lives, are seeking to overcome power imbalances, seeking social justice, and seeking solutions through various entrepreneurial ideas, schemes, groups, and organizations. Students explore innovative, community building projects and activities first hand and observe the daily struggles and victories of those working to better their world.

Program Highlights

  • Understand the impact and lasting legacies of slavery and colonialism
  • Explore first-hand innovative, community-building projects and activities
  • Interact with communities and people go about their lives
  • Go on amazing excursions in one of the world's most beautiful cities



This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students. Minimum GPA is 2.25.


3-6 credits

Students can choose to participate in one or both sessions of this program. Each session is 2 weeks long and students will choose one 3-credit course during each session. Students who participate in one session will receive 3 credits. Students who participate in both sessions will receive 6 credits.

Course Options

Session I: "Afropolitanism"
  • INTS 399
  • HIST 387
  • AFAM 390
  • SOCI 395
  • GOVT 398
  • CONF 385
Grad: INTS 595

Session II: "Social Justice and Entrepreneurship"
  • INTS 399
  • HIST 387
  • AFAM 390
  • SOCI 395
  • GOVT 398
  • CONF 385
Grad: INTS 595

Program Dates*

Session I: June 14 - June 25, 2021
Session II: June 28 - July 9, 2021
Session I & II: June 14 - July 9, 2021



June 13 Arrival for students participating in Session I.
June 14 Session I begins with Orientation and Campus Tour.
Afternoon: Cape Town City Tour
June 15 "Afropolitanism" Course Introduction and Overview
Lecture: An Overview of Cape Slavery
Documenting & Discussion: Impact of the Abolition of Slave Trade at the Cape
June 16 Lecture: The Slave Lodge & Dutch and British Expansion
Excursion & Discussion: The Slave Lodge Museum and The Surrounding Area linked to Slavery
June 17 Lecture: Colonialism, Segregation, & Early Resistance
Documenting & Discussion: Slavery and Colonialism
June 18 Excursion: District Six Museum
Lecture: Apartheid & Resistance
Documenting & Discussion: District Six and Forced Removals
June 19 Weekend - Free Day
June 20 Weekend - Free Day
June 21 Lecture: Apartheid & Resistance
Excursion: Robben Island Prison
June 22 Lecture: Past Trauma and Present Legacies - Social Identities in Cape Town
Documenting & Discussion: Resistance
June 23 Lecture: The Transition to Democracy
Documenting & Discussion: Transition
June 24 Lecture: The Post-Apartheid Period
Evening: Student group work
June 25 Student presentations and Course Evaluation
June 26 Departure for students participating in just Session I. Free day for students participating in both sessions
June 27 Arrival for students participating in just Session II. Free day for students participating in both sessions
June 28 Session II begins with course overview.
Lecture: Understanding the "Self" in the Context of Social Justice, Gender Justice in South Africa
Excursion & Discussion: SONKE Gender Justice Institute
June 29 Group Exercise: Mapping Inequality
Excursion & Discussion: Social Justice Coalition Offices & Espinaca
June 30 Group Presentations
Documentary & Discussion: Human
July 1 Lecture: Language, Culture & Power in Contemporary South Africa
Documentary & Discussion: Afrikaaps -
July 2 Lecture & Discussion: Understanding Power, Difference, Privilege & Oppression
July 3 Weekend
July 4 Weekend
July 5 Theoretical Introduction to Service Learning
Lecture: The Role of Service Learning in Community Transformation
July 6 Lecture: Meet ABCD Concepts
Excursion: 18 Gangster Museum Khayelitsha and Visit to the 4Roomed venue and project
July 7 Lecture: How are NGO's working in Cape Town?
Excursion: St. Francis Orphanage
July 8 Excursion & Discussion: Wola Nani
Lecture: Service Learning, Disability & Entrepreneurship
July 9 Student Presentations and Course Evaluation
July 10 Departure
* 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 2021
​One session/course: $3,150
Two sessions/courses: $5,200

The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges will be put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge, which together equal the published Program Cost for this course. 


  • Tuition for 3 credits per session,
  • Accommodations, 
  • Breakfasts,
  • Transportation and entrance fees to all excursions/field trips/activities as described in itinerary,
  • Welcome and Farewell meals,
  • International emergency medical insurance.

Not included: Airfare*, meals, passport and visa fees, COVID-19 testing in the U.S. before departure, COVID-19 testing while abroad, vaccinations, local transportation, personal spending, required textbooks and/or course materials.

*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email. The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights and/or costs associated with arriving prior to the start of the program.

When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will recommend the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance. 

Program Payments

Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments. All payments and charges are reflected in the student's Mason Student Account

Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit of $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by March 20, 2021. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.​

Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by April 10, 2021. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

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 Office of Financial Aid is unable to assess if a student will have aid available for summer until mid to late February. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" and "Intent to Use VA Benefits" forms are available in the MasonAbroad application system once the Office of Financial Aid can review aid for this program. 

* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students:​

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

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:


GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:

Application Deadline:

March 10, 2021


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.

Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline. The Office of Financial Aid is unable to assess if a student will have aid available for summer until mid to late February.

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:

Academic Director

  Brian Gibson Headshot
Name Brian Gibson, PhD
Phone 703-993-2154

GEO Program Administrator

Name Brittany Samko
Phone 703-993-2155

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.