Cape Town, South Africa is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited. The gondola ride to the top of Table Mountain provides some of the best views on the planet. Standing on Table Mountain as the clouds poured down over the edge took my breath away. Robben Island—home to so much bad history—is where I saw my first (and only) penguins in the wild. I walked around a bush, and there they were. Just standing there. Just looking at me, you know, as penguins do.
It’s been 15 years since I was there, and I’d love to go back. But three things make it difficult. First, it’s a long trip from Seattle to Cape Town; the shortest I find is 23 hours including a 90-minute layover in Amsterdam. Second, the coronavirus; world travel for fun during a pandemic doesn’t sound, well, fun. Third, Cape Town is one of the most violent cities in the world.
In an online discussion forum, provide students with this background information.
In Cape Town, South Africa in 2018, the homicide rate was 66.4 per 100,000. That’s 2,868 murders annually in a city of 4.3 million. In comparison, Los Angeles is home to 4.1 million people. In 2018, LA had 259 murders for a murder rate of about 6 per 100,000.
Just like any urban area, some parts of the city are more violent than others. And the causes are largely the same: high unemployment, profit to be made in gang activity, access to guns. (Read more here.)
The story, though, has taken an unexpected positive turn. The coronavirus pandemic has provided the gangs a superordinate goal: provide food for the community.
Next, pose these questions.
- Read this BBC article. Find a quote from the article that you found particularly interesting or striking, and in 200+ words of reflection, explain why you selected it. Be sure to use quotation marks with your quote.
- What was the superordinate goal that has brought these two rival gangs together? In 100+ words of reflection, do you think once the threat of the coronavirus has passed, the peace will hold? Why or why not?
- In you had an extra million dollars that you could use to help end gang violence in Cape Town, how would you spend it? Why? Use what you’ve learned about reducing intergroup conflict to inform your response.
Ask students to respond to at least two posts with answers to these questions.
- In 100+ words, respond to the quote. Your response should be directly related to the content of the initial post, displaying psychological knowledge, say, from the textbook, personal application, and critical thought.
- In 50+ words, respond to thoughts on whether or the not the peace will hold with a compliment (I like how… because…), a comment (I agree/disagree… because…), a connection (That reminds me of… because…), or a question (I wonder why/how…because…).
- In 50+ words, respond to thoughts on how the million dollars would be spent with a compliment (I like how… because…), a comment (I agree/disagree… because…), a connection (That reminds me of… because…), or a question (I wonder why/how…because…).