Through a Wider Lens

Students are transformed by studying abroad in South Africa.

Author: 
Anonymous
Story by: 
Jeff Cronin and Tauheedah Shukriyyah Asad
An African sunset provides students with a backdrop during a service trip to Pretoria. Photo by Lezlie McCabe.

As Ian Watson, Class of 2015, prepared to study abroad in South Africa, he realized how little people knew about the country in which he would spend his summer.

“Do they have the internet there?” someone asked him. “Don’t get eaten by lions,” another warned. Those rampant misconceptions about that nation inspired him to document the everyday people of Johannesburg with his camera.

Watson was among 17 Temple students who participated in the School of Media and Communication’s South Africa Study Away program last summer. Traveling across the country, the photographers documented all aspects of South African life, including mass media, politics, culture and economics in a postapartheid climate. They also visited historical landmarks such as the Apartheid Museum and the Cullinan Diamond mine.

“It seemed to me that inhabitants of neighborhoods were still determined by skin tone and, consequently, wealth. But inside the doors of the Hare Krishna temples, all this was vastly different.”
-- Meaghan Pogue, Class of 2015

Photographers chose their own themes for their photos. For example, Meaghan Pogue, Class of 2015, used South Africa’s Hare Krishna temples as a way to showcase the postapartheid era. “It seemed to me that inhabitants of neighborhoods were still determined by skin tone and, consequently, wealth,” she says. “But inside the doors of the Hare Krishna temples, all this was vastly different.”

The students’ work was a part of the South Africa program’s social‐media coverage, which won a professional EPPY Award last fall from Editor & Publisher magazine. Here, Temple showcases some of the contemplative, compassionate photographs taken during that trip.

  • A 19‐year‐old boy who dropped out of high school is working to improve his life. Photos by Kelsey Dubinsky, Class of 2015.
  • A 19‐year‐old boy who dropped out of high school is working to improve his life. Photos by Kelsey Dubinsky, Class of 2015.
  • Ian Watson, Class of 2015, took the photos above and below. He says he wanted to focus his photography on documenting the lives of everyday people.
  • Students encounter native plants, impalas and more at Pilanesberg National Park, the fourth‐largest park in South Africa. Photos by Kayla Oatneal, Class of 2015.
  • Students encounter native plants, impalas and more at Pilanesberg National Park, the fourth‐largest park in South Africa. Photos by Kayla Oatneal, Class of 2015.