Born a Crime or Born Free?

South Africa

Duration 10 days
Suggested group size 12 - 20 students / 2 Envoys Field Staff
Suggested ages 14 - 18
Experience Post-Apartheid Democracy
Social Justice & A Cradle of Life


Born a Crime or Born Free?

South Africa I

In his inaugural month as South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela likened citizens' connection to the country to the jacaranda and mimosa trees, envisioning a rainbow nation at peace. The country boasts diverse cultural heritage, landscapes, and social systems. Yet, it grapples with its apartheid history, reflecting in ongoing inequities. As the birthplace of human origins, it's also one of the world's youngest democracies, striving for the peace Mandela envisioned.

“In the land where lion roars meet the majesty of Table Mountain, South Africa's vistas unfold as a kaleidoscope, painting the continent's heartbeat.“


“Soweto's rhythm, Kruger's plains, unity in nature's diversity.“


Impact Statement Everywhere we go, we carry a promise – to engage with respect, act with purpose, and leave a positive imprint. As envoys of our journey is more than travel; Our footprint is light, but our impact is profound, creating bridges of cooperation and mutual growth across the globe.

Day 1

Upon arrival, students are greeted by their Envoys educators and receive a safety briefing and activity that builds the group dynamic. From there, we head out to explore the surrounding area and have a welcome dinner together, sampling South African cuisine.

Day 2

Students explore the Western Cape, visiting Bartholomew Diaz's 1488 point, delving into regional geography and ecology. They enjoy renowned fish and chips at Kalky’s, explore Kirstenbosch Gardens with its diverse flora, and engage in a sunset discussion on Signal Hill. Then, dinner on Bree Street.

Day 3

Students engage with South Africa's societal challenges, starting in Nyanga Township, exploring apartheid's impact, volunteering, and reflecting on community interactions. After lunch and journaling in the City Bowl, they tour the Company Gardens and South African Parliament.

Day 4

On their final day in Cape Town, students tour Robben Island, a pivotal site in South Africa's struggle against apartheid. After exploring the V&A Waterfront, they walk through Bo-Kaap. A Cape Malay cooking class follows, offering insights into Malay culture through traditional dishes.

Day 5

Midway through the program, students reflect on their growth and bid farewell to Cape Town from Table Mountain. After checking in at the airport, they fly to Johannesburg for the next leg of their journey. In Johannesburg, they check into the hotel, have dinner, and end the day with group games.

Day 6

In Johannesburg, the group visits Nelson Mandela's house in Soweto and takes a bike tour, delving into apartheid history. After lunch, they visit a public health organization focused on HIV advocacy. The day ends with dinner in Maboneng, exploring the arts scene, reflections, and an Envoys activity.

Day 7

The group visits the Cradle of Humankind, exploring South Africa's role as the origins to our early human ancestors. Later, they head to Pilanesberg National Park, learning about conservation efforts from rangers, having dinner, and falling asleep to the sounds of wildlife.

Day 8

The group embarks on an early morning private game drive in Pilanesberg, followed by a tour of Pretoria's Union Buildings. They explore a local diamond mine, delving into the country's historical exploitation and current natural wealth. The day concludes with dinner and relaxation in Johannesburg.

Day 9

Visits to the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, engaging with South Africa's challenging history. The day ends with a comprehensive debrief and reflection workshop for students to process experiences, recognize contributions, and prepare to share learnings and growth with their community.

Day 10

We wake up and pack our bags. After eating breakfast and completing our program evaluations, we board our bus to Johannesburg airport for our return flights home.

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Lenses of Inquiry


Post-Apartheid Democracy

South Africa’s democracy is under 30 years old and in the few generations that have been born since, there has been a social and political effort to define what the new South Africa will become. Students will learn how citizens are attempting to right the injustice of the past, and write a new story


Social Justice

Students witness South Africa's contemporary drive for social justice by engaging with a new generation of artists, entrepreneurs, and activists. This firsthand experience highlights efforts toward transformational change across various aspects of South African life.


A Cradle of Life

South Africa's rich biodiversity and unique landscapes, including the "Cradle of Humankind," provide a window into both rare wildlife and human origins. Students explore this intricate connection, gaining insights into the natural world and our evolutionary history.


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