CCMS Students Visit Historical KZN Battlefields

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CCMS students and staff during their field trip to the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields.
CCMS students and staff during their field trip to the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields.

A group of students and lecturers from the Centre for Communication Media and Society (CCMS) within the School of Applied Human Sciences recently visited the northern KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields.

The sites visited are a concentration of some of the locations in which historical battles that took place over numerous years shaped both the South African and British history. It was here that the Voortrekkers were confronted and defeated by Zulu armies.

CCMS students and their lecturers, Professor Ruth Teer-Tomaselli, Professor Donal McCracken and Dr Sarah Gibson headed to the Battlefields to gain knowledge and critically analyse historic museums located there. The three-day trip was an informative and exciting excursion during which the Blood River/Ncome Museum, Isandlwana, Rorke’s Drift, Fugitives Drift, Talana, Ladysmith Siege Museum as well as Spioenkop were visited.

The excursion helped students apply theories of representation, identity, material culture and heritage studies to the sites they visited. This revealed that informal learning institutions and experiences contribute to student engagement as this experience made it easier for them to understand and observe cultural studies from a practical perspective.

‘This was a great opportunity for us to apply our theoretical understanding of semiotics to the cultural representations and identities that were created in the imagery and crafts. As postgraduate students, we were expected to constantly engage in conversation about topics of study. Cultural studies is a field that requires one to look outside the seminar room for resources to enhance curriculum effectiveness. The field trip has been a wonderful and effective tool for learning,’ said Mr Lungelo Ndlovu, CCMS student.

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