By Ntsele Busisiwe from South Africa

August 13, 2015

It seemed like years ago when we gathered at the garden with so much enthusiasm, anxiety and our hopesand fears on the upcoming 17 days ahead. Little did we know that we had just met as strangers only to depart today 17 days later  at the exact same sport to pick a picture. 

The highlight of this exercise was how free people seemed today and their open mindness as they picked different pictures and shared their lesson learned. Some participants still chose the same picture but now had a different explanation of that particular same picture. I am thinking what has changed besides that Halil has not yet called his wife even to date… Well  a few people decided to share their reflection on the summer and I came to conclude that summerschool was a great experience not just for learning but also to make new and forget lifelong bonds.

A few participants shared their reflections as follows

  • I now realise that humans are very different yet very similar at the same time: Faradilla 
  • I wish that the summer school was much longer: Ameya
  • My take home point is that you have to meet the other to understand pluralism : Ayu
  • I feel so free and boundless:  Shreeradha
  • I will always think of the Aleeeeeeeeeleahhhh sound of Busi: Susan
  • The cultural expereience tought me respect and tolerance for difference: Sokhela
  • I have been inspired by all the wonderful lecturers from around the world : Wieke
  • My only regret is not having an African experience: Anonymous
  • I hope that we the participants of summer school 2015 take the world to greater heights and make all the positive changes : Haffiz
  • There is so much to do and learn but so little time: Liz
  • This experience had made me a new person in a cliche way: Michiel
  • This 17 days has been one of the spectecular and splendid days of my life as I came ti meet strangers but we leave as frioends: Anjali
  • The programme  was too awesome: Mlondi
  • ‘’We have never faced a tragedy like this but yet another great opportunity to solve it like we do’’ Catherine’s favorite quote from Mr H.
  • The camping experience was wonderfully special: Annelie

Indeed this has not only been a wonderful experience but a very fruitful journey of self discovery. We managed to party, camp, track and work together without much conflict brewing, we bought 5 trees all in the name of sustainability, raised money to buy children 3 pairs of school shoes during the barefoot campaign, cooked up and storm and had a vibrant cultural night  and outside our programme scope we interacted and also put a smile on the faces of the locals.

I must confess I  have never taken so many pictures with

strangers in my whole life and will miss all the attention and generous pauses for pictures and kind gestures from the local people as they invited us to taste their food and take photos with them down the street.Hence that concludes my Indonesian experience…..learning didnot only happen in the class room but also in the streets , dinner tables, group meetings, outside each others gardens, poolside, lobby… now that is what I call summer school. 


Busisiwe Ntsele has an MA degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a PHD Candidate at the Institute For Reconciliation & Social Justice UFS Bloemfontein, South Africa, where she also works as Research Assistant for Human Rights Desk.