Building Bridges with the Republic of South Africa

AMHERST, Mass. - When University of Massachusetts alumna Dr. Mapule F. Ramashala – one of South Africa’s leading figures in higher education – visits the Five Colleges on Thurs., April 23 and Fri., April 24 prior to being installed as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville on May 6, she will meet with numerous University faculty and staff who have ongoing relationships with the young republic of South Africa.

The following is a list of some of the principal leaders in these efforts.

Samuel Bowles, economics – Bowles’s interest in South Africa dates back to 1961, when he was working for the government of Northern Nigeria and spent a month in South Africa, talking to political activists, businessmen, and others in the aftermath of the Sharpeville shootings. His connection was renewed in 1991 when he was invited by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to participate in a post-apartheid human resources strategy exercise. At that time he also began his work with the Industrial Strategy Project (another COSATU project), creating policies aimed at restructuring the industrial framework of the country – and particularly its labor relations – with the upcoming transfer of power. In 1994 President Nelson Mandela appointed him to serve on the Presidential Labor Market Commission, a group of business, union, and other leaders charged with charting labor market policies to "overcome the legacy of apartheid." Since the completion of the commission’s work in 1996, Bowles has continued frequent visits to the country to lecture at universities, and to conduct courses in economics for union members where he uses materials developed at the Center for Popular Economics, a group affiliated with the UMass economics department.

Ralph Faulkingham, anthropology – Faulkingham is one of the founders of the Five College African Studies Certificate Program and he serves as co-editor of the African Studies Review, the principal scholarly journal about Africa in the United States. One of his recent Ph.D. students was Makaziwe Mandela, South African President Mandela’s first-born daughter, who is now director of human resources for Spoornet, the corporation that runs South Africa’s railroads and harbors. Though Faulkingham has never been to South Africa, he aims to rectify that soon, as he and Linda Faulkingham, director of development at the Fine Arts Center, are finalizing plans to spend the spring 1999 semester on the campus of the University of Fort Hare, whose alumni include Stephen Biko, Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela. The Faulkinghams will work to solidify and enlarge the student exchange program between UMass and Fort Hare.

Stephen Clingman, English – A native of South Africa, he recently was honored at the South African parliament for his biography of Bram Fischer, the white anti-apartheid activist who served as Nelson Mandela’s defense attorney. The book has been at the top of the non-fiction bestsellers list in South Africa since it was published in February. Clingman has also had ongoing contacts with individuals and administrators at the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Cape Town, and Natal. In this capacity he has helped to set up numerous educational programs involving the English department and the Writing Program (see below). Anne Herrington, Writing Program – Through earlier arrangements made by English department chair Stephen Clingman, Herrington last spring visited the Academic Development Programme at the University of Cape Town where she built connections between UMass and writing teachers in post-apartheid South Africa. Herrington also consulted with writing teachers at the University of the Western Cape, one of the disadvantaged historically black campuses in South Africa. Herrington is currently in contact with the Academic Development Programme at the University of Cape Town and is working to arrange exchange visits to UMass by two of its faculty next year. One focus of these visits would be to develop methods by which academic writing in English could be taught to bi- and multilingual students in South Africa.

Robert Paul Wolff, Afro-American studies – As executive director of University Scholarships for South African Students (USSAS), Wolff has been instrumental in bringing disadvantaged South African students to UMass for close to a decade. Now Wolff is involved in fighting rural poverty and violence in South Africa itself. As part of an effort initiated by South African parliament member Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of the Mahatma Gandhi, and Albertina Luthuli, the daughter of Nobel Peace Laureate and African National Congress leader Chief Albert Luthuli, he is developing scholarships for students to study in a special program aimed at addressing these issues at the QwaQwa campus of the University of the North in South Africa. Barbara Burn, international programs – International Programs has been steadily building relationships with South Africa for years under Burn’s leadership. In 1992, during a visit to campus by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, International Programs initiated an exchange program with Fort Hare, South Africa’s oldest historically black university. The exchange officially began in 1993 and has since involved numerous five college students. Currently three UMass undergraduates and one Mount Holyoke College student are studying at Fort Hare.

Mzamo Mangaliso, management – A native of South Africa, Mangaliso has been integrally involved in numerous University projects related to South Africa. An alumnus of Fort Hare University, he was instrumental in bringing Archbishop Desmond Tutu to campus in 1992 and also played a key role in establishing the exchange program between that university and UMass. In 1994, at the invitation of Tutu, he and campus chaplain Christopher Carlisle went to South Africa on a fact-finding mission regarding secondary education where they provided extensive models for creating pre-school education programs and a network of child care centers.