AU Students Participate in Study Tour to South Africa

Five Ashland University students, Deanna Baker, Jennifer Holderman, David Mohn, Paige Shirk and Elizabeth Waxter as well as recent graduate Laura Huntington, recently participated in a study tour of Cape Town, South Africa, with Dr. Dan Lehman, trustees’ distinguished professor of English at Ashland University.

The six students were joined by five graduate students from The Ohio State University, who traveled with Dr. Barbara Lehman from OSU. The study tour took place from May 17 to 31.    

During the two weeks, the study tour met with renowned South African authors such as Sindiwe Magona and Niki Daly, attended seminars with a half dozen South African academics on topics concerning South African literature and film, and mingled with students and professors at Stellenbosch University, where Dan Lehman served as a Fulbright senior scholar in 2004-2005.

“The aim of the study tour was to bring students into direct contact with all facets of South African culture, including an indigenous Sunday church service with praise and singing; a tour of the townships of Langa and Gugulethu, where thousands of South Africans were forced to live during apartheid and which still have acres of squatters camps; an elementary school that educates many children of the townships for a brighter South African future; and a feeding and crafts program in a township that produces fair trade weaving and crafts,” Lehman said. “The students also enjoyed an Africa Day concert of South African singing and drumming as well as several films and dramatic presentations.”

Of course, no trip to Cape Town would be complete without touring its breathtaking scenery: the cable car up Table Mountain that stands nearly 3,500 feet above the center of town, the Cape of Good Hope where the Atlantic and Indian oceans come together (complete with wild ostriches, baboons, and zebras), the penguins at Boulders Beach, and a cruise across Table Bay to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other freedom fighters were held for more than two decades during apartheid.

Outdoor activities included a hike up Lion’s Head with breathtaking views of the city and coastline, and even horseback riding on the Noordhoek Beach. “It is fair to say that everyone in the AU group left his or her heart in South Africa,” Lehman said.

Also, Dr. Lehman presented a paper, “Next Year in Jerusalema: Tsotsi and the Rhetoric of Lucky Kumene,” at the Stellenbosch University Department of English staff seminar on May 23.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2013, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

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