Urban Scholars travel to Africa
Traveling from the Los Angeles International Airport, students spent their first day in Africa in Ethiopia, the only African country that was not colonized by Europe. Embracing the culture through local food and exploring history by visiting historic chapels, students delved into the depths of African diaspora in the capital city, Addis Ababa.
For the next week, SJLI students traveled through Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. As the hometown of Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg gave students the opportunity to explore the history of state-sanctioned slavery through the Apartheid Museum and visiting Nelson Mandela’s home. Students also met Dr. Mandela, the eldest daughter of Nelson Mandela, who spoke about how she sees her role in moving her community forward. Additionally, students toured Robin Island of Cape Town, which housed prisons during the apartheid period. Students were able to see the cell that Nelson Mandela and three other South African presidents were imprisoned in.
On top of being exposed to the culturally rich history, students also enjoyed African, scenic locations. Students gazed over Table Mountain and witnessed the split between the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. Furthermore, in Zimbabwe, students enjoyed Victoria Falls and Safari Game Drive, observing and taking in the serene nature and diverse wildlife.
In the matter of eleven days, SJLI students experienced a life-changing journey. Not only was this trip a physical journey, but it was also an emotional, spiritual one as well. Many students expressed the evolution of their critical-consciousness and gaining a deeper understanding of the African diaspora. The materials that were two-dimensional and static in the classroom became vividly alive and real through this voyage. As SJLI prepares to celebrates its tenth year, this Africa trip signifies SJLI’s renewed commitment and the increased capacity to serving and educating youth of color.