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Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, South Africa

Program Description

This summer program in South Africa will provide students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about post-conflict justice, restorative justice, South African society, reconciliation, and race relations. While these topics are discussed in a classroom setting within the major, this program allows for students to live and breathe those issues hands-on and up-close. This program primarily explores how restorative justice has (or has not) been applied in South Africa, at both a local and national level. This exploration will involve being connected with local civil society organizations, academics in the field, and through hands-on work in communities.

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the political, socio-economic, and racial context in post-conflict South Africa
  • Apply theoretical concepts related to justice to a concrete example
  • Locate themselves and their identities within the greater South African community
  • Discuss the progress South Africans have made in achieving the restorative justice values of reconciliation, reparation and interconnectedness
  • Distinguish between different restorative practices used on the micro-level and those used on the macro-level
  • Critique the use of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a form of restorative justice

Location Description

This program will take place in three major cities in South Africa, and also in some remote country-side locations. The cities include Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and Johannesburg. Cape Town has repeatedly been voted the most beautiful city in the world, and the Mother City (as it’s affectionately called) definitely lives up to its reputation. Situated on the slopes of a beautiful mountain range on one side, and sandy shores of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans on the other, Cape Town is the perfect location for your first (or second, or third…) experience in Africa. The city itself is very cosmopolitan and is comparable to bigger cities in Europe.

Just outside the city, however, shows the marks of a conflictual past due to the legacies of Apartheid. Shantytowns, or townships as their called in South Africa, are extremely underdeveloped urban living areas to which many people of color were forced during Apartheid. Many townships struggle with adequate access to electricity, proper sewage systems, high levels of crime, and daily occurrences of police brutality.

The second city we will be visiting is Port Elizabeth. Much smaller than Cape Town, P.E. is located in the Eastern Cape about eight hours from the Mother City. The drive between the cities is one of the most beautiful road trips in South Africa and part of the famous Garden Route.

Lastly, we will be visiting Johannesburg and staying with host families in the country's biggest township: Soweto. This experience staying with local families and hearing their stories will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity.  


Kathleen Sensabaugh | | Justice Studies


During our stay, we will be residing mainly in hostels - or backpackers as they are called in South Africa, and with local families. Staying in backpackers is one of the best ways to experience the country authentically, and many tourists and locals travel this way. Accommodations are centrally located with easy access to public transport. Students will be in either double, triple, or quad rooms with shared bathrooms. Wifi is available at all backpackers where we will be staying, but might not be available when we're staying with the host families. 

The program fee will cover two meals a day. For some meals, students will be responsible for getting groceries and cooking family style for the whole group during the stay. Other meals will involve allocation of a meal stipend or going out to eat together.

Additional Items to Consider

A passport valid 6 months beyond our travel dates will be required.

No visa is required. A 90-day tourist visa will be obtained upon entry.

No extra immunizations required beyond standard for living in the U.S.

Malaria is not an issue in the areas in which we will be visiting.

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5

This program is best suited for Justice Studies, International Affairs, or Political Science majors; or Africana Studies, Humanitarian Affairs, or Criminal Justice minors.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Resume
  • Interview with Program Director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


JUST 301: Special Topics: Restorative Justice in Africa (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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