South Peninsula Biome

CIEE Cape Town Study Tour - Spring Block I

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Study tours are an integral part of the learning experience at the CIEE Cape Town Open Campus Block program. Specially designed excursions are built into the curriculum of every academic track so you can take your coursework out of the classroom and into the host community. 

CIEE Student poses while overlooking Hout Bay Harbour while on CIEE's Cape Town Study Tour
Natural wildlife found in Cape Town
CIEE student relaxing at Cape of Good Hope while on CIEE Cape Town Study Tour

The South Peninsula Biome is a rich, diverse, geographical environment with a variety of indigenous flora and fauna unique to this region. Accompanying this plethora of natural phenomena are equally complicated socio-political dynamics. The small fishing community of Hangberg in Hout Bay in the Western Cape is a microcosm of this dynamic ecosphere, both topographically and socio-politically.

Under apartheid, the Group Areas Act of 1950 declared Hout Bay a “white only” neighbourhood.  This meant that the Khoisan, the indigenous residents of Hout Bay, who were deemed by the apartheid system to be “non-white” or “coloured,” were relocated to Hangberg, a mountainside close to the harbour.  They were used as cheap labour for the fishing industry monopolised by white settlers. Many of the residents of Hangberg identify as descendants of the Khoisan, who were known for their intimate and reciprocal relationship with nature.  This community continues to fight for the recognition of their humanity, fishing rights, equal opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and better living conditions 25 years after the official end of apartheid. Although many residents of Hangberg are proud to identify as “coloured” — a term bestowed upon them under apartheid — they do not take any pride in still being burdened by the social, economic and political inequalities that accompany their identity.  The coloured identity in the Western Cape continues to be synonymous with the stereotypes associated with gangsterism and drugs. Through various non-governmental outreach and social justice initiatives, the residents of Hangberg are determined to combat these stereotypes that over the years have contributed to how they are regarded by the police and justice system. The residents of Hangberg bear the burden of being stuck in the middle — neither white enough” nor “black enough” yet still occupying identities that are a subject of immense contestation in South Africa. Hangberg residents are determined to escape the haunting spirit of apartheid. Many yearn for the full recognition of their Khoisan identity, as people who are one with nature.

Sample Itinerary

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FRIDAY

INTRODUCTION TO HOUT BAY BY BRENT THOMAS
Longtime resident, Rasta, fisherman, artist, social justice activist and descendant of the Khoisan, Brent Thomas will introduce students to the history of Hout Bay and Hangberg, particularly focusing on the narratives of the indigenous Khoisan fishing community. Brent will talk about the various social, political and economic issues that have been on the minds of residents over the past 25 years – particularly over land and the fishing rights that have not only been part of their culture but a means of supporting themselves for centuries. Peter Michaels will also introduce you to the work done by the Harvest Youth Project – an organization that seeks to address challenges facing disadvantaged youth growing up on the margins of Hout Bay through training and opportunities in the visual and performing arts sector. Here you will also get an opportunity to interact and engage with members of the community who are the brains behind this initiative.

TALK ABOUT YOUTH IN MEDIA BY PETER MICHAELS
You will hear from Peter Michaels, the Manager of Harvest Youth Project and South African Kung Fu Champion. Michaels will share with us his experiences and stories as a young reporter serving the displaced community of Hangberg.

TALK BY HELENA FAGAN
Helena Fagan, founder of Harvest Centre, will take us through the Workspace Community Workshop that forms part of the Harvest Centre in Hout Bay Harbour. This community-based organization is the hub for democratic exchanges of knowledge, skills and resources between people from different walks of life. The Workspace allows artisans from various art disciplines to engage, create and display their crafts with the aim that sharing knowledge and skills will empower disadvantaged people of Hout Bay to take their rightful place in the South African society as full citizens.

FISH AND CHIPS LUNCH 'ON THE ROCKS'
Due to Cape Town’s coastal location, it is not surprising that the consumption of fish and chips (fries) forms an integral part of the landscape’s cultural identity. Students will have a chance to feast on freshly caught hake and chips from the iconic Fish on the Rocks shop snuggled on the shores of Hout Bay Harbor, where locals get their fish and chips.

HOUT BAY HARBOUR
We will leave our accomodation  for the Hout Bay harbor where we will embark on a cruise. Bring camera, hat, sunscreen and something warm in case the wind is chilly.

SUNSET CRUISE VIA SEAL ISLAND
We will embark on a cruise to Duiker Island, Seal Colony where thousands of indigenous wild Cape Fur Seals can be viewed up close in their natural habitat. You will be treated to breathtaking views as we travel back to the harbor along the cliffs and caves of Chapmans Peak.

DINNER AT HOUT BAY HARBOR MARKET
For dinner you will be given a stipend to purchase a meal of your choice from one of Cape Town’s most vibrant night markets. The Hout Bay Market is a cornucopia of creative energies, vivacious culture and a celebration of South Africa’s spirit under the roof of an authentic fish factory in a working harbor.

SATURDAY

FORAGING TRIP UP TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Brent Thomas will take us through a foraging trip on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, where he will introduce us to traditional fishing culture known to the Khoisan. He will explain how current day politics has left traditional fishermen struggling for the recognition of their fishing right. Students will have first-hand experience in gathering and preparing wild foods offered by the landscape using methods derived from the Khoisan people.  Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for hiking in, and don’t forget your sunscreen.

WALK BACK TO HANGBERG FOR LUNCH
Students will be treated to a traditional fisher family meal that would have seen many Khoisan families through the wet and windy ‘hard times’ when fishermen could not go out to sea. 

FREE TIME
On Saturday afternoon you are free to wander and explore Noordhoek or Hout Bay, lay on the beach or participate in one of two suggested activities below.

Free Time Suggestions

Live music/comedy at Pakalolo

+021 790 0700
10 Main Road Hout Bay

Hout Bay Gallery

+021 790 3618
71 Victoria Avenue Hout Bay

WORLD OF BIRDS

+021 790 2730
World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary, Valley Road Hout Bay

WHAT ARE THE STUDY TOUR LEARNING OBJECTIVES?

The intercultural learning objectives of the study tour curriculum—delivered in two parts, pre- and post-tour—are to promote cultural self-awareness, cultural literacy, and the ability to bridge cultural gaps. Through activities and exercises, students are encouraged to consider issues of culture, identity, values, beliefs and assumptions. Ultimately, students develop competencies to experience new and unfamiliar experiences without relying on stereotypes and heuristics.

Each study tour should achieve learning objectives in each academic track whereby students can:

ARTICULATE some of their own values and beliefs, and explain how these values and beliefs, as well as their experiences, have shaped their own views surrounding politics and international
relations in general.

RECOGNIZE diversity and difference within the local cultural context, and be able to compare and contrast this with the diversity that exists in other contexts with which they may be familiar.

IDENTIFY at least two ways in which practices surrounding media in the host environment are culturally-influenced and/or ways that media practices in the host environment impacts culture.

EVALUATE at least two ways in which social and cultural factors in the host environment have influenced values, beliefs, assumptions, or practices surrounding local healthcare.

DECONSTRUCT their own assumptions and values and analyze how these shape their views on international business. In addition to achieving learning objectives in the academic tracks a study tour presents opportunities to support students understanding the cultural beings of Self and Other. These include developing abilities to self-reflect and become more self-aware, increase their understanding of the salient values in their previous and current environment, and develop their capacity for the awareness of others in their previous and current cultural context.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

CIEE Open Campus Block Program

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