Old Wrongs, New Rights

Student Views of the New South Africa
Old Wrongs, New Rights

Old Wrongs, New Rights offers a series of candid close-ups of South Africa's invigorating but unfinished journey from apartheid to democracy penned by students from Simmons College.

The reporters are students from the Americas, steeped in idealism but quick to spot backsliding. Their vantage point provides a freshness that is absent from the seasoned, often cynical, professionals who usually mediate our view of this daunting experiment in social transformation.

The 24 stories in this collection focus on day-to-day struggles to attain the promise of South Africa's visionary Constitution, which not only guarantees every citizen equality and full participation in the political process, but also rights to housing, health care, education, personal security, and a safe environment for future generations. What has so far been achieved, the student reporters asked? What or who holds back change? Who is propelling the society ahead, and why does so much remain to be done?

As journalists, the students sought answers not in pious pronouncements or paper pledges but in the lives of those now carrying apartheid's persistent legacy. Old Wrongs, New Rights, edited by Dan Connell, who led the student trip to South Africa in May-June 2007, gives voice to South Africans' deeply felt aspirations, coupled with their intense frustration at the sluggish pace of change. It also tracks the ways in which the experience transformed the observers. Includes photographs and a detailed itinerary with local contact information.