Each year, Queens College offers cultural and academic programming focusing on a different nation – an endeavor that reflects the college’s mission to serve and reflect the most diverse county in the United States, its position within the premier public university in New York City, and its commitment to global education.
The focus during the academic year 2014-15 is on the Republic of South Africa, the country that produced leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Steven Biko; literary writers such as Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Alan Paton, J.M. Coetzee, Mark Mathabane, and Athol Fugard; a multifaceted tourist industry that includes heritage sites, wildlife preservation, renowned vineyards, and surf destinations; globally popular musicians such as Hugh Masekela and Die Antwoord; and award-winning films such as Darrell Roodt’s Yesterday, Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi, and Neill Blomkamp’s District 9.
South Africa has also had a vexed history, one that includes the Apartheid era, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s public airing of the nation’s traumatic history under this regime, and widely publicized struggles with HIV and AIDS.
During The Year of South Africa, the Queens College community will explore these many facets of South Africa’s past, present, and future: its politics, society, economy, and ethnicities, as well as its art, literature, music, and film. As a critical part of our programming, we shall feature the innovative work being done by Queens College faculty, staff, and students in South Africa, as well as the work of other local and international scholars. In so doing, the Year of South Africa will advance a core value of Queens College’s educational mission, our dedication to embracing, exploring, and understanding the complexity, interdependence, and vitality of our interconnected world.