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Howard and South Africa Through the Years

HU South African Research
and Archival Project




Howard University and South Africa
Through the Years

1930s to 1980s

Former Political Science Chair (1928-1950) and Nobel Prize winner Ralph Bunche visited South Africa for three months in late 1937, conducting research at Capetown University. In 1992, African Studies professor Robert Edgar edited Dr. Bunche’s notes about his research in South Africa, publishing An African-American in South Africa: The Travel Notes of Ralph J. Bunche in South Africa, 1937 with The Ohio State University Press.

Dr. Edgar also directs the “African-American Historical Linkages with South Africa, ca. 1890-1965” documentary editing project.



[LEFT] Archbishop Desmond Tutu is seen here with President James Cheeks and University trustee Geraldine Woods at the ceremony where he was awarded a doctorate of humane letters in 1984 at the School of Divinity’s 68th Annual Convocation.


1990s to 2000s

In 1995, Howard University awarded Nelson Mandela the doctorate of humane letters. The following year, President H. Patrick Swygert led a Howard delegation to South Africa; shortly thereafter, the Howard University Republic of South Africa Project (HURSAP) was launched, and HURSAP, in turn, launched the South African Research Archival Project (SARAP). Most recently, HURSAP has hosted Mathole S. Motshekga, while SARAP, with the support of the College of Arts and Sciences, hosted South African first lady Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma in December, 2009 [RIGHT].


[LEFT] H.E. Franklin Abraham Sonn, the first black ambassador of post-apartheid South Africa, delivered the convocation address in 1998 and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities. Read Ambassador Sonn’s remarks here.


[LEFT] Thabo Mbeki was awarded the LLD, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa in 2000. President Mbeki’s remarks are captured here.





2011 and Forward

This year, the Law School embarks on its fourteenth Summer Abroad Comparative and International Law Program in South Africa at the University of Western Cape.

The School of Social Work continues to expand its work in South Africa, most recently joining forces with their South African counterparts on Human Rights Day in Cape Town during the School of Social Work’s Spring Break 2010 Service-Learning project.



[RIGHT] In 2011, Howard signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Pretoria Kara Heritage Institute.

Next year, Howard, in collaboration with the Embassy of South Africa, will coordinate the US Centennial Celebration of the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC’s 100-year anniversary will be commemorated throughout South Africa and the African Diaspora.
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Howard University College of Arts and Sciences South Africa Summer Study Abroad