Film series educates UK on apartheid

By Maranda Courtney

More than 200 students heard from Johannesburg, South Africa Thursday evening.

Students and visitors met in Kastle Hall to watch “Have You Heard from Johannesburg?,” a seven-part documentary that focuses on the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Students participated in a discussion following the film with guest speaker College of Arts and Sciences Dean Mark Kornbluh.

Kornbluh made viewing this film series possible and encouraged participants to “think about this story in reference to the American Civil Rights Movement.”

“The film is powerful, emotional and really brings the story [of South Africa] to life,” he said.

The series focuses on the struggles of South Africa and took more than 15 years to document.

“I am looking forward [to seeing the film], I think it will be very interesting,” second year nursing student Elizabeth Doughty said.

Doughty is enrolled in “South Africa & Kentucky: Different Lands, Common Ground,” a course taught by Arts and Sciences Special Projects Manager Lauren Kientz that highlights the little-known similarities between the country and state and introduces students to cross-cultural opportunities on the UK campus. The course runs Sept. 23 to Dec. 7.

The documentary and discussions with guest speakers, which include the film’s director, Connie Field, and South African anti-apartheid activists, are free and open to the public.

West said  she is considering studying abroad in South Africa because of the interest this film has generated. She is also enrolled in the South Africa course and said she finds the class discussions interesting and enlightening.

Dr. Lauren Kientz is the instructor of the Arts and Sciences course and heads the Program of International Understanding. She is working on her post-doctorate here at UK and believes in involving all of her 200 students in class discussions and incorporating experiential learning. Kientz said she has been pleased with the student interaction.

Students who did not have the opportunity to enroll in the course may take advantage of  the  Program in International Understanding, a sister program that incorporates much of the class. Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to go on fieldtrips, participate in a book club and receive a certificate of completion.

Anyone interested in participating can contact to Dr. Lauren Kientz via email, [email protected].