The Massachusetts – South Africa Technology Fellowship, or M-SAT, was a partnership program of South Africa Partners and Bentley University and was funded by the U.S. Department of State. The program facilitated an important exchange of ideas and experiences among people working in information technology, biotechnology and life sciences in South Africa and the United States.
During 2013-2014, fourteen South African Fellows were hosted by U.S. peers and placed to work in leading Boston-area organizations including Biogen Idec, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Cambridge Innovation Center. The U.S. Fellows then traveled to South Africa to learn through similar immersion experiences.
The program’s formal end date has passed, but the M-SAT Fellows continue to work together, further developing relationships between U.S. and South African companies, institutions and individuals.
Mandela Day, celebrated throughout the world on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, is meant to inspire individuals to take action and to help change the world for the better and build a global movement for good. The official slogan is “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.” The ethical framework of Mandela Day is “service to one’s fellow human”.
South Africa Partners hosts occasional Friends Tours to South Africa. On these one-of-a-kind trips, we share our perspective about the history, opportunities and challenges facing the country. We visit South Africa Partners health and education partnership programs that are building local capacity in the health and education sectors. The Friends Tour also includes visits to historical sites in Johannesburg and Cape Town and opportunities for in-depth interactions with thought leaders. These trips are led by Mary Tiseo, Co-Founder and Executive Director of South Africa Partners.
“Traveling to South Africa with South Africa Partners,” wrote a 2014 Educator Tour participant, “was the difference between reading a book and living it.” The story of South Africa’s troubled history and its transition into a multi-racial democracy is well known to many U.S. educators, but that remarkable story is best understood through the experience of travel. The Educator Tour gives teachers the rare opportunity to see and understand both the country’s history and the country’s future first hand through the lens of education. Participants learn directly from South African educators who are working hard to deliver on the promise of a post-apartheid South Africa and engage with the children who are the nation’s future.
Since 2006, South Africa partners has led unique tours to South Africa, introducing U.S. educators to South African teachers, students and school administrators. While traveling through Johannesburg, East London and Cape Town, participants visit historical sites, build lasting relationships through a week-long classroom immersion and expand their understanding of the educational system. More than 80 U.S. teachers have participated in the tour.
On International Womens Day, South Africa Partners joined with program partners to screen Positively Beautiful: Life and love in the age of HIV, a documentary film about living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa today. Following the screening there was a panel discussion featuring Douglas Brooks – Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, Diveena Cooppan – producer and director of the film, Mary Tiseo – Executive Director of South Africa Partners and Mickey Aramati – Assistant Professor of Global Health at Tufts Public Health.
This program was co-hosted by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, Tufts Public Health, American Association of University Women, Boston Network for International Development, Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights and South Africa Partners.
Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend chronicles the friendship of Nelson Mandela and Christo Brand, one of Mandela’s prison guards at Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison. At this book reading, Brand reminisced about his friendship with Mandela and the history he witnessed first-hand. This event was co-hosted by the Cambridge Public Library and South Africa Partners.
“This is really a tale of two men and their shared humanity in an inhuman place. A worthy addition to the canon of Mandela literature that details a relationship that many knew about but few truly understood.” – Kirkus Reviews
Partnering with the civics organization, Discovering Justice, South Africa Partners hosted the internationally-renown judge and educator, Justice Albie Sachs, for a special program at the Moakley U.S. District Courthouse in Boston.
With Chief Judge Patti Saris, Justice Sachs spoke to 180 middle and high school students about the connected histories of Jim Crow laws in the U.S. and apartheid in South Africa. Justice Sachs later joined Frank Michelman, Professor Emeritus Harvard Law School, Margaret Burnham, Professor Northeastern University School of Law and Judge Mark Wolf for a panel discussion about Constitutional law and social transformation.
Throughout the discussions, Justice Sachs inspired participants with his personal accounts of activism, citizenship and forgiveness.
“We were inspired and moved by Justice Sachs. He talked to us about systems of oppression in the United States and South Africa, important topics that most students were learning about for the first time. ” –Participating sixth grade teacher
South Africa Partners honored five prominent Boston activists for their leadership of a major local anti-apartheid campaign and their continuing work for justice and equity in the United States. The Amandla Award honorees were: Reebee Garofalo & The Amandla Collective; Caroline Hunter; Willard Johnson; Mel King; and, Byron Rushing.
In tandem with the Amandla Awards, South Africa Partners hosted the exclusive Boston-screening of Sing Your Song, Harry Belafonte’s biographical film documenting his lifelong contributions to social justice as an artist and activist.
Helen Suzman, the iconic South African Member of Parliament who devoted her life to the fight against apartheid, was honored by South Africa Partners. “Helen Suzman: Fighter for Human Rights” is a traveling exhibit that documents Mrs. Suzman’s unwavering determination in the face of intimidation and anti-Semitism. United States District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf hosted the event at the Moakley Courthouse and Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, a native of South Africa, shared her personal remembrances.