I just completed an extremely long flight from South Africa to Toronto (15 hours plus) and jet lag has delayed this post a bit.
What can I say about a country that is a mass of contradictions? With 11 official languages, almost 50 million people, and a land mass greater than France, Italy and Germany combined, South Africa remains the economic powerhouse of the African continent. Despite a strong infrastructure and a commodity-rich economy, poverty and unemployment are still endemic. As one delightful professor explained to our intrepid group, economic disparity and the legacy of a horrendously racist system of government still overshadows South Africa's future. Add in the health problems associated with AIDS (South Africa has one of the highest number of cases in the world) and refugees from neighbouring countries and the challenges definitely pile up.
Our high-powered group of 16 psychologists (and guests) managed to visit Johannesburg, Capetown, and parts in between and sampled much of what this beautiful country has to offer. You can check out my pictures online to get an idea of what we managed to see in our brief time there. Along with seeing the country, we were also able to talk with representatives from South Africa's primary universities, psychology organizations, and health care facilities. I'll include a link to the proceedings from the delegation when they become available.
When I have more time, I'll write some posts over the next few weeks on specific issues facing psychology in South Africa as well as some fascinating stories that I heard.