Transforming Cape Town: Education Activists and Social Change

THU, FEB 19, 2009

Catherine Besteman, chair of Anthropology at Colby College, speaks about her new book, Transforming Cape Town, which explores the emotional and personal aspects of the legacy of apartheid and the transition to black majority rule in South Africa. Allistair Witten, interim director of the Principal’s Center and former school principal in South Africa, joins Besteman to discuss the role of grassroots activism in effecting social transformation. Through stories about families, schools, and communities in Cape Town, Besteman and Witten highlight the ongoing struggles and victories around race and reconciliation in a young democracy. Susan Moore Johnson, Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr. Professor of Teaching and Learning, provides an introduction. This forum is co-sponsored by The Harvard Committee on African Studies, Facing History and Ourselves, and The University of Cape Town Fund.

+ BIO: Allistair Witten

Allistair Witten is an educator from Cape Town, South Africa. He is currently a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a teaching fellow at Harvard’s Principals’ Center where he assists with the training and development of aspiring principals. Mr. Witten has been an educator for twenty-two years in South Africa’s township schools, and spent the last ten of these as school principal. Recently, Witten has focused on extending the functions of schools and making them sites for community development and transformation. His work has contributed to the Safe Schools Program in Cape Town, which adopts a community-oriented approach to engaging problems that negatively affect the functioning of schools.

Harvard Graduate School of Education
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