South Africa Today

Economy, Technology, and People

Friday, March 22, 2013 - Sunday, March 24, 2013

South Africa Today

Class times: 5pm Friday, March 22, 2013 to 1pm Sunday, March 24, 2013 (2400 Sennott Square, University of Pittsburgh)

As a rising state in the world economy and with a rich history and culture, South Africa’s status is shifting. South Africa Today is a one-credit (Pitt)/ three-unit (CMU) mini course, consisting of 14 hours of classes over a weekend, with a major paper assignment to be completed for credit. The course will open with two keynote lectures on Friday evening on an overview of the issues. This will be followed by instructional lectures on Saturday on the various themes by experts in the fields.  Sunday morning will be a discussion of two case studies and a panel discussion by the speakers on future challenges, and some possible projections/ recommendations.


As global citizens, students need to have a working knowledge of other countries, which are important in shaping the corporate, social and political world. As a rising state in the world economy, South Africa’s status in the business and in world affairs is shifting.

Course Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course, the students will:
1. Have a general understanding of the corporate, geo-political, cultural and social factors that define the South African economic, cultural and technological landscape at the present time.
2. Explore one of these factors in depth, through the research paper.

Faculty presenters: TBA

Textbook: TBA


This short course will explore how various intersections of economy, society, and identity interact in South Africa and in the perceived position of South Africa as an emerging world economy. It will explore questions such as:

  • How do South Africa’s history and diversity reflect in the policies and the economy of South Africa today? In the way South Africans react with the market?
  • What are today’s challenges in attaining equity in quality of life in South Africa? What are some of its greatest needs?
  • What are impediments to South Africa’s economic and business growth?
  • What are the challenges of multinational firms in developing countries and how can those challenges be overcome?
  • What are some of the salient features of the U.S.-South African Relations?
  • How have cultural traditions and modernizations integrated in South Africa? What have been some cultural responses to globalization?
  • What lies ahead? What are the opportunities and challenges in South Africa’s immediate future?


Due to the immersive nature of the course, students are expected to attend all sessions on all three days. Further, each student will be required to read the assigned book and develop a research paper on one dimension of modern South Africa that has been introduced in class. The paper should be based on one of the topics covered in the course. The length of the term paper will be 5-10 pages, double spaced in 11 point font. Term papers are due by April 19th and should be submitted through Carnegie Mellon's Blackboard assignment tab for the course.

Audit Option:

Carnegie Mellon students may also audit the course by attending all the sessions, but not writing the paper. You should be sure to process an audit form, both if you are auditing from the beginning or later if you have decided not to do a paper and want your status changed from credit to audit. Pitt students may also audit but students must choose this option before the beginning of the course. Once the course has started students will be graded based on how they signed up for the course.

Professors Amy Burkert ( are responsible for grades at Carnegie Mellon and Larry Feick (  and Veronica Dristas ( at the University of Pittsburgh, respectively. Please send e-mail to us individually if you have questions regarding grades.

Note: The paper is not a book or chapter review, but an overall analysis that demonstrates your reading and thinking on the subject. First articulate an organizing question that you will attempt to answer, and proceed from there to find sources. The organizing question has to be an exploration on one of the issues or aspects addressed by one or several speakers in the course.

As this is a generalist course, we don’t expect a detailed economic or political analysis, but a thorough literature review on the topic and your synthesis of these readings to answer the question with a critical perspective.

Instructors (responsible for grades and class organization):

Veronica Dristas, University of Pittsburgh
Amy Burkert, Carnegie Mellon University

 Sponsored by:
University of Pittsburgh: Global Studies Center, Department of Economics, Katz Graduate School of Business, the Swanson School of Engineering, International Business Center, and College of Buisness Administration
Carnegie Mellon University: H. John Heinz III College, Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs


Tentative Schedule ( updated 3-22-13)

Friday, March 22 5:00 - 8:00pm

5:00 pm- 5:15 pm Brief Introductions and Welcome
5:15 pm- 5:30 pm Pre- evaluation survey
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm Louis A. Picard - "South Africa: The Iron Age to Apartheid and to Post-Apartheid Government, Part 1"
6:30 pm- 6:45 pm Break 
6:45pm- 8:00 pm Louis A. Picard – "South Africa: The Iron Age to Apartheid and to Post-Apartheid Government, Part 2"

Saturday, March 23 8:30am - 6:45pm

8:30 am- 9:45 am John Siko -Africa and the World Today
9:45 am - 10:00 am Break
10:00 am- 11:15 am Johnny Moloto –“South Africa in perspective: Punching above its weight?”

11:15 am- 11:30 am Break
11:30 am- 12:45 pm 
 Jean Nachega -  "HIV In South Africa: Turning the Tide of the Epidemic". 
(via Video Conference)
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm Lunch
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm David Hirshmann - "From Mandela to Zuma in 2 Decades “Cry the Beloved Country??""
3:15-pm - 3:30 pm Break
3:30 pm - 4:45 pm Patrick Bond- BRICS impact on South Africa 
(via Video Conference)
4:45 pm - 5:00 Break
5:00-pm - 6:15 pm John Siko – Domestic and Foreign policy

Sunday, March 24, 9:00am - 12:00pm

9:00am- 10:15am Beverly Peters- "Micropolitics in South Africa: Governance and Development in the Rural Areas"     
10:15am -10:30 am Break
10:30 am - 11:45 am - Gavin Steingo- "South African Music in Global Context"

11:45 am - 12:00 pm Conclusion and evaluation

David Hirschmann, Professor

Dr. Hirschmann is a professor in the School of International Service at American University in Washington D.C.. Dr. Hirschmann has written approximately 55 publications, with topics including Reengineering and Performance Measurement in USAID; Development Management/ Bureaucracy/ Administration, and Planning; Women and Development; Women and Political Participation/ Democracy/ Civil Society; Elections Management; Institutional Development; Rural Development; Development Policy; and Southern African Politics. Dr. Hirschmann holds a PhD, MA, LLB, and BA from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Jean B. Nachega, MD, PhD, MPH:

Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Pittsburgh University. His research, teaching, andprofessional activities include planning, design, implementing, and monitoring clinical trials, cohort studies and programs for prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and related opportunistic infections globally. He authored more than 80 publications and some of them in prestigious journals such as Lancet, JAMA, PlosMedicine and Annals of Internal Medicine. He conducted a pivotal study establishing a dose-response linear relationship between adherence to Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors-based HIV Therapy and virologic outcomes. In addition, he was the first to quantify the savings in health care cost per month associated with excellent ART adherence, in a large South African HIV cohort. He serves as the Principal Investigator on several research or training grants funded by NIH, PEPFAR, EDCTP, Wellcome Trust and Private Foundations. He is an ad hoc expert member at World Health Organization, HIV Department, Geneva, within the HIV Treatment Guidelines as well as HIV Drug Resistance Working Groups. He is member of South African Academy of Sciences.

Professor Louis A. Picard

Director of the Ford Institute for Human Security at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also the former Associate Dean (1988-1992) and Acting Dean (1989-1990) of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh and Director of the International Development Division of the Graduate school of Public and International Affairs of the University of Pittsburgh. He served as President of Public Administration Service. (2002-2005). His research and consulting specializations include international development, governance, development management, local government, civil society and human resource development. His primary area of interest is Africa and he has had extensive fieldwork in Southern Africa including three years in South Africa. He has worked in the Anglophone East and West Africa, including the Horn, Francophone West Africa and North Africa. He also has research interests and experience in Central America and the Caribbean, South Asia and in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.

Dr. Picard has carried out research on regional and district administration in Tanzania, developed the training system for local government in Botswana, and for the last ten years has been working on issues of liberalism, governance and local governance and development management on South Africa. From 1991-1994 Dr. Picard served as a UNDP and World Bank advisor on regional and local government and on public sector capacity building in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. He has worked in more than 46 countries, 38 of which are in Africa and the Middle East. His major academic research for the last several years has been on the political transformation in South Africa. He has also carried out research on U.S. foreign aid, security and diplomacy. He is the author or editor of 11 books more than forty articles and book chapters and numerous reports.

Dr. Beverly Peters

Dr. Peters is a specialist in human security in Africa and has written extensively on economic development, democratization, and HIV/AIDS. She has more than fifteen years experience teaching, conducting research, and managing projects in southern and West Africa. An expert on political and economic development in Zimbabwe, she has provided political analyses to the government of South Africa and the private sector, and is regularly featured in local and international media including the South African Broadcasting Corporation news, New York Times, Voice of America, and Radio France International.  Dr. Peters has developed proposals for and managed democratization and community development programs in South Africa, Darfur, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, among other countries. Dr. Peters holds a PhD Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh and a MA Public and International Affairs, California State University Sacramento. She speaks English, Shona, Spanish.

Registration is REQUIRED for University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University students and requested for teachers, community members and guests who are not taking the course for credit.

For students only: Once you are registered, you will be given acess to the South Africa Today Blackboard/ Courseweb site (hosted by CMU), where you will find information on assignments and resources.

Carnegie Mellon University Registration

Registration is REQUIRED for Carnegie Mellon University students. For any registrations, please contact Catherine Ribarchak at

University of Pittsburgh Registration

Registration is REQUIRED for University of Pittsburgh students. Students can register for this course up till March 1, 2013

University of Pittsburgh Registration

For any inquiries please contact Veronica Dristas at

University of Pittsburgh students may register for the South Africa mini course at no additional cost provided that they do not exceed the maximum number of credits for full-time enrollment. Full-time enrollment maximum credits vary with status and School. Students will be billed for credits exceeding their full or part-time allowable credits.

Community Registration

Registration is requested for community members and guests who are not taking the course for credit.

Who needs to register?
Registration is for count of attendance only, and is for guests who are NOT taking the course for credit.

How do I register?
Please click the link below and fill out the simple form:

Community Registration

Teacher Registration

This registration form is for teachers who would like to receive ACT 48 credit. To register please click the link and fill out the simple form:

Teacher Registration


Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh: Global Studies Center, Department of Economics, Katz Graduate School of Business, the Swanson School of Engineering, International Business Center, Carnegie Mellon University: H. John Heinz III College, Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs

Veronica Dristas

Assistant Director of Outreach

Global Studies Center
University Center for International Studies (UCIS)
University of Pittsburgh
4101 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
412 624-2918

Cathy Ribarchak Administrative Assistant to Dr. Amy Burkert Office of the Vice Provost for Education Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Avenue 612A Warner Hall Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890 412-268-8677 (voice) 412-268-2330 (fax) Contact the Global Studies Center: Phone: (412) 648-5085 Email: Mailing address: Global Studies Center University of Pittsburgh University Center for International Studies 4400 Wesley W. Posvar Hall Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh: Global Studies Center, Asian Studies Center, Department of Economics, Katz Graduate School of Business, the Swanson School of Engineering, International Business Center, Carnegie Mellon University: H. John Heinz III College, Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs

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