CSU Meets Africa: Visual Pathways in Art and Education (South Africa)

This summer program focuses on the Arts of Africa through the study of artistic methods and techniques, cultural context, and global significance. The first week of the program meets on campus at CSU, and serves as an introduction to the visual arts of Africa and their function in contemporary South African society. It includes a social and artistic history of South Africa, as well as a cultural primer on the South Sotho peoples.

The orientation also provides a platform for students to ask any questions, and for faculty to provide practical information for travel in South Africa. Following orientation, students will spend 4-weeks in Harrismith and Qwa Qwa.  Harrismith is an important juncture point that leads to a number of popular destinations in South Africa. Qwa Qwa, a former Bantustan that reunited with South Africa after 1994, was the designated homeland of more than 180,000 Sesotho-speaking Basotho people during the time of apartheid.

Upon returning to CSU, the program will include a final week of debriefing, evaluation, and project presentations.

The following 4-weeks will be spent in South Africa, and will be broken up into the following modules:

  • Studio Art Methods and techniques

In this module, students will meet with South African visual artists to observe and participate in the various methods and techniques used to create culturally-specific South Sotho and Zulu beadwork, mural arts, and performance art.

It will also expose students to the function of the visual arts within their original context.

  • Art History and Museum Studies

This module will include a service learning project that engages with art historical approaches and methodologies, and topical discussion on the display of African objects within a museum setting.

Students will interview and document South Sotho visual artists, kings, chiefs, and oral historians in order to record a history that provides South Sotho individuals the opportunity to represent themselves within their own terms.

This information will be used to reinstall an area museum that serves as a culturally significant site for the Batlokwa ba Mota, a South Sotho culture.

  • Art Education

This module will focus on developing culturally relevant didactic tools for area students and teachers to engage with South Sotho art and history.

Educational programming will be developed around the aforementioned museum, allowing it to become an extension of the classroom for local elementary and middle school students and teachers.

In addition, CSU students and faculty will collaborate with Dr. Diphane Hlalele from the University of the Free State, as well as Helene Smuts, founder and director of the Africa Meets Africa project in order to implement teacher training sessions on newly developed arts-based curricula.

Students will also develop studio art lessons which will be implemented in area elementary- and middle-schools in Qwa Qwa.

Following these sessions, students will collaborate with their peers from the University of the Free State in quantitatively and qualitatively evaluating the training sessions.

Program Outcomes:

Students will gain an introduction to the visual arts of Africa, followed by an in-depth study of studio art methods and techniques, art history and museum studies, art education, community engagement and cultural management. 


We collaborate with faculty from the Department of Education at the University of the Free State, Qwa Qwa campus; Representatives from the Provincial Government Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture; Various Paramount Chiefs in the National House of Traditional Leaders; Area elementary and middle schools; local artists; Helene Smuts, Founder and Director of the Africa Meets Africa Project