In preparation for a forthcoming trip to South Africa, second year Drama and Applied Theatre students at St Mary’s University, Twickenham visited South Africa House in London on Wednesday 29th January as MP Peter Hain launched his book, Ad and Wal, detailing his parent’s contribution to the liberation struggle in South Africa.
The purpose of the trip was to give students a historical and
political background to the country before their visit in September, as
part of the Drama and Applied Theatre programme. These students
undertake a Theatre for Development
placement in South Africa where they have the opportunity to apply the
skills learned in the programme as part of a cultural exchange with
schools and communities.
Before their work placement, each student must deliver a 20 minute
presentation on an aspect of South Africa, development or healthcare in
order to expand their knowledge of the country and the issues that it
faced and continues to face. The trip to South Africa House gave them a
better understanding of the country, which will help them form better
relationships with the peers and school children with whom they will be
The book launch was followed by a question and answer session with South African journalist John Battersby,
the former Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Independent in Johannesburg,
who talked about the last 70 years of history in South Africa.
Senior Drama Lecturer Matthew Hahn,
who organises the annual trip, said, “The visit was a success as the
students were able to meet people with first-hand knowledge of the
hardships that many South Africans faced under Apartheid and the effects
that this still has on the country.”