Social Media and Political Change in Africa

In the fall of 2016 I applied for a received funding for a project that was aimed at engaging students in my Social Media and Political Change in Africa class with movements on the ground.

With funding, We invited Kealeboga Ramaru, an activist/organizer from the #RhodesMustFall & #FeesMustFall movement in Cape Town, to campus to engage with students. The project was a partnership between the Departments of African Studies and Afro American Studies, and was generously funded by the Center for African Studies at Howard University.

The project was also done in partnership with the Africa World Now Project and faculty at the Department of History and Political Science at Montgomery College. The project included the following activities with Ms. Ramaru

• Three workshops with students in AFST 107
• Two guest lectures in AFRO 101
• A guest lecture in the Department of History and Political Science at Montgomery College
• An interview with Africa World Now (WPFW)
• A panel discussion with Melina Abdullah of #BlackLivesMatter and Nana Brantao on Black activism in South Africa and the U.S.

WORKSHOPS

AFEE 2The seven students in the African Studies course, Social Media and Political Change in Africa (AFST 107), participated in three workshops with Ms. Ramaru. They first learned about the history of #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall. Ms. Ramaru discussed the planning and physical and emotional challenges that went into organizing these movements at the University of Cape Town. Students learned about the history of the racial and economic dynamics of South African culture that gave birth to these movements. They also worked with Ms. Ramau in planning their own social justice campaigns, which was their semester project. They went through the steps of their campaigns, including articulating clear long term and short term goals, and coming up with effective campaign tactics.

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Students worked on projects such as 

* Police brutality in the U.S.
* Youth unemployment
* The mining industry in South Africa
* Police brutality in South Africa
* Female genital cutting

 

NOVEMBER 29th EVENT

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The panel discussion on Black activism in South Africa and the United States was held on November 29 on Howard University’s campus, in the Browsing Room inside Founder Library. The event was attended by over sixty Howard University students, faculty, and community members.

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AFST 107 student participating in the dialogue 

Students in AFST 107 helped to plan and organize the event. The students:

• Designed and distributed the flyers for the program
• Designed and printed the program for the panel discussion
• Distributed the spring 2017 African Studies & Afro American Studies course listings to the audience
• Designed an printed certificates of appreciation for the three panel participants
• Chose and packaged gifts for the three panel participants
• Helped usher the event
• Wrote an article in the Hilltop covering the event

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AFST 107 student participating in the dialogue 

STUDENT BENEFITS

Students really responded well to the workshops, guest lecture, and the final program. Students were engaged in the lectures by asking questions and following up with Ms. Ramau. For many students, it was there first exposure to the student movements happening in South Africa, for others it was their only opportunity to hear first hand from someone who was involved in the student protests in South Africa from their inception. Students were able to see the clear connections between the student protests in South Africa, and movements for Black lives here in the United States.

The final program on November 29th further connected the relationships between fights for racial justice and decolonizing the university space.

The project also contributed the curriculum in the AFST 107 course, as well as the overall undergraduate curriculum of our undergraduate program by adding an additional emphasis on activism, as well as the contemporary application of social justice theories in Africa.

The following is the final report describing the implementation of the grant in the course Social Media and Political Change in Africa. The report also details the results and recommendations.

Proposal Final Report