Howard University

South Africa Program


Applicants may submit an application online. Click Here to Apply to Howard University School of Law Study Abroad Program

Howard University School of Law is pleased to announce its summer program of law at the University of Western Cape, in Cape Town South Africa, in 2015.

The program is approved by the American Bar Association and will allow students to earn up to six semester hours of law school credit while becoming familiar with the new South Africa. The program offers an opportunity for students to witness firsthand the historic legal and political changes in South Africa, in what is sure to become a leading political and economic power center in the region. A unique aspect of the Howard program is the opportunity it provides for interaction with South African law students and graduates who also participate in the program.

Study in South Africa - A Unique Setting

The program in South Africa will be the eighteenth summer program abroad by Howard Law School to be held in South Africa. The program will be conducted at the University of Western Cape in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa. Cape Town is located on the southern tip of the African continent with the Atlantic Ocean to the West and the Indian Ocean to the East. The city is surrounded by mountains with the majestic Table Mountain in the background. A thriving metropolis, the city is well-connected by mass transportation to the rest of southern Africa.

The University of Western Cape has been and continues to be a pre-eminent institution in the struggle for a democratic South Africa. Many members of its faculty (law school in particular) now occupy prominent positions in the new cabinet and government.

South Africa is at a dramatic and unique juncture in its history. In the past nineteen years, monumental changes have taken place and are continuing to take place. In April of 1994, South Africa had its first non-racial and democratic elections which culminated in the swearing in of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first democratically-elected President. The interim constitution was in place for a period of two years. In the first two years, the new legislature served as a Constitutional Assembly and established a permanent constitution. The new South Africa is moving along a path of democracy, reconstruction, and development. Participants in the program will have an opportunity to participate and witness firsthand the dramatic constitutional and other legal changes taking place in South Africa. Guest lecturers in past programs include South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Minister of Justice, Minister of Provincial Affairs and Constitutional Development, Minister of Home Affairs, Constitutional and Supreme Court Judges and Members of Parliament. Participants in past programs had the opportunity to hear past presidents including President Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma in Parliament. Students in the 2013 program had an opportunity to hear and meet President Barack Obama when he visited Cape Town.

obama.jpg Participants in the 2013 program meeting US President Obama.

In the areas of international trade and commerce, the world is increasingly becoming one global village. South Africa is a resource-rich country, with a well-developed economy and an advanced technology base. South Africa’s transformation to democratic rule offers new and exciting opportunities for international trade and commerce. At the same time that South Africa is experiencing profound political and legal change, it is once again participating more fully in the international business world after a long enforced isolation. International businesses are returning to South Africa to reestablish old ties and forge new relationships. Concurrently, South African companies are venturing into the international marketplace. The international business and trade courses offer students an opportunity to become familiar with the laws of international transactions and trade law, as well as become familiar with Africa’s most developed economy, and what is sure to be an emerging center of international business and commerce.
The program will also include visits to political institutions, historic sites, as well as tours of Cape Town and the surrounding area. Visits to political institutions will include the South African Parliament. Two whole-day tours will include some of the breath taking scenery of Cape Town around the Cape Peninsula.

Midway through the program, students will have a 4-5 day break. During the break, students can explore Cape Town more in-depth or visit other parts of South Africa, including Johannesburg, Durban, Sun City, Kruger National Game Park, etc.

Responses from Past Programs

The statements described below were made by an American student about the International Business Transactions course last year. The statements were in response to the following question on the student evaluation questionnaire: Was the course stimulating and enjoyable?

“This course brought out interest which I never thought existed. [The professor] stimulated me to such an extent that I need to go sit alone for a couple of weeks and reevaluate what I’m doing.” “Within the context of the entire program—simply amazing. First class all the way!!! Not only was there a balance in terms of how all three courses relate to one another—but the speakers and tours added another, fuller dimension to the lectures and the reading. I feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of this and hope that other students in the future [will] have a similar opportunity to participate in this program”

The statement described below was made by an American student about the Comparative Constitutional Law course. The statement was in response to the final question on the student evaluation questionnaire: Please provide in as much detail any other comments about the course.

“My mom called this morning and asked if I was having a good time. I said I’m meeting a Constitutional Court Justice today. I’ve been exposed to deeply felt perspectives from an instructor of diverse experience. I would not have received such exposure outside of this course. This is a big part of what I think life is about—getting your world stretched; listening to different views. I told mom I was learning a lot. Sometimes an understatement is all you can make.”

The statement described below was made by another American student about the Comparative Constitutional Law course in response to the following question on the student evaluation questionnaire: Was the course stimulating and enjoyable?

“This course was absolutely the most thought provoking for me to date.”

The same student made the comment described below about the Comparative Constitutional Law course. The statement was in response to the final question on the student evaluation questionnaire: Please provide in as much detail any other comments about the course.

“This has been the most unique educational experience I’ve had throughout any aspect of my education. I only hope that the program will offer future students the same quality of experiences in dealing with the legal processes of the South African government. The program should continue to be on the cutting edge of providing a quality legal education abroad. So continue to have such persons as Prof. Grove, Albie Sachs, Trevor Manuel and others bring the most contemporary issues to the students.”

ABA Site Report

The statement below was made by the American Bar Association site evaluator who inspected the program;

The summary word for this program is that it was excellent. I have at no other program encountered such universally pleased students. I really do not know how the program could have been improved. It was well-conceived, well-planned and brilliantly executed. The use of the Director’s and one of the professor’s remarkable contacts with the highest levels of government and the University gave the program a richness no student could have anticipated and for which every student to whom I spoke expressed profound gratitude.


Applicants from the United States must hold a bachelor’s degree and be in good academic standing at an ABA-approved school of law. They should have completed one year of law study.
Professionals holding a J.D. or LL.B. Degree, or other advanced degree (from either the United States or another country), are also invited to apply.


To apply, candidates should complete the application form. Student applicants must submit a letter of good standing from the Dean of their respective law school. Legal professionals must submit a copy of their diploma or official law school transcript. All applicants are requested to submit curriculum vitae or resume with the application.

The application fee is $50.00 and must accompany the application in the form of a cashier’s check or money order. The fee cannot be waived and is non-refundable.

Deadline for application is April 2, 2015. Applications will be accepted after the due date so long as there are slots available.

Schedule and Course of Study

Three courses, of two credits each, will be offered. Students may enroll for all three courses (although two courses are recommended, as this will enable more time for study and exploration of the area). All students will be required to enroll for a minimum of two courses.

All courses are taught in English by outstanding teachers from both the United States and South Africa.

Two of the three courses will be presented each day. Each course will meet for 14 sessions of two hours each. The specific course meeting times may be altered from time to time to accommodate the schedules of special guest lecturers.

A written examination will be administered in each course, for which pass/fail grades will be assigned. A percentage (%) grade will be issued if the student’s law school so requires. The percentage grade translates as follows: A 90-100; B 80-89; C 70-79; D 60-69.

Transcripts will be sent to each school by the Registrar of Howard University upon completion of the session and you completing a transcript request on line at

Acceptance of any credit or grade for any course taken in the program is subject to determination by the student’s law school. Students wishing to use credits earned for accelerated graduation should consult with their school.

In addition to the three courses offered, there are limited noncredit internships with law firms, NGO’s and human rights organizations.


South Africa’s Constitution in Comparative Perspective

This course entails an investigation and comparison of Constitutional Law in South Africa against primarily the United States Constitution and a select number of other countries such as Britain, France, and Germany. The course will address the different conceptions of pivotal constitutional doctrines such as separation of powers, the rule of law, federalism and the role of judiciary. The course will also address the executive-legislative-judicial interrelationship in the South African constitution in contrast to the United States and other constitutions. In this context, the British notion of legislative supremacy/sovereignty, which permeated the old order in South Africa through the lack of judicial review, will be compared with the new order’s elevation of the constitution as a supreme document subject to judicial review as exemplified in the United States.

With respect to the judiciary, special consideration will be paid to the specialized constitutional court, which the South African constitution provides for, and which is similar to specialized constitutional courts that exist in many parts of Continental Europe such as in Germany. Attention will also be paid to the fundamental rights provisions (i.e., free speech and substantive equality) in the South African constitution in relation to the United States and the other constitutional orders.

Doing Business in South Africa: International Business Transactions

The International Business Transactions class will introduce students to the wide-ranging legal issues that arise in international business transactions particularly as it pertains to business with South Africa. A primary object of the course is to develop the students’ skills in preventing legal problems, and to devise strategies for solving legal problems that arise in international business transactions. The class focuses on a number of critical areas in international business such as trade law, monetary law, and intellectual property law.

Topics to be covered will include different methods of international business, formation and financing of an international transaction, and resolution of international disputes. The class will also consider the current political, economic, and financial developments, which are relevant in international business transactions. The course will illustrate how legal expertise can assist in developing and executing a sound international business strategy, particularly in Southern Africa.

Contemporary Developments in International and Comparative Law. Comparative Criminal Law and Procedure: Selected International Perspectives

The Contemporary Developments Course will focus on Comparative Criminal Law and Procedure. If you were arrested in a foreign country for a serious crime, which country would you feel most comfortable prosecuting you? How confident would you be concerning your ability to get a “fair” trial? This inquiry turns, in large part, on the various criminal procedural protections available in a particular jurisdiction—protections, which vary widely, even in developed “western” democracies. This class will study several of the important procedural protections –which protections differ markedly from country to country. These protections are sometimes part of the constitutional fabric; or sometimes they are solely legislative creations. The manner in which these protections are interpreted by courts and legislatures, and the finality given such determinations also vary from country to country.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the various systems? Areas of focus will include the burden of proof in criminal cases, the privilege against self-incrimination, the role of the court, right to a jury trial, criminal discovery procedures, extradition, and double jeopardy. The class will also examine various high profile criminal cases, such as the Amanda Knox murder trial in Italy, the Lady Di criminal investigation in France, The Oscar Pistorius ( Blade Runner) murder trial in South Africa, the OJ Simpson murder trial in the United States, and the John Hinckley attempted murder trial of President Regan (resulting in a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict).

The course will provide students with an opportunity to compare and contrast key procedural components of the criminal justice process in several countries and in various international bodies, and to gain an understanding of the importance of the various procedural provisions as applied to actual cases. Students will also have an opportunity to directly compare the criminal procedural rules of South Africa with those of other nations, particularly the rule that prohibits criminal jury trials in South Africa. In addition, the interplay of criminal procedural protections and the extradition process will be explored. For example, many nations limit extradition to the United States because double jeopardy protections in the United States are deemed inadequate. The course will be particularly helpful for students interested in international and comparative criminal law and procedure, including those interested in government service and affairs of state.


Professor Ziyad Motala (Director)

Professor Motala is a native of Durban, South Africa, and was active in the struggle for liberation in South Africa. He received his B.A. and LL.B. degrees from the University of Natal (South Africa). He has an LL.M. and an SJ.D degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. He is an authority on international law, constitutional law, and comparative law. Currently, he is Professor of Law and also Director of the Howard University School of Law Comparative and International Law program in South Africa conducted at the University of Western Cape.

Professor Motala has served as the coordinator of a one week seminar on the Protection of Human Rights in Africa conducted by the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences Conference in Conjunction with the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Bureau, and the United Nations Center for Human Rights. Prof. Motala has written extensively in his areas of interest. He is the co-author of Constitutional Law Analysis and Cases with Cyril Ramaphosa formed Secretary General of the African National Congress and Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly of South Africa.

He has also authored Constitutional Options For a Democratic South Africa: a Comparative Perspective. He has co-edited, The Protection of Human Rights in African Criminal Proceedings with M.C. Bassiouni. He is the author of over 30 law review and op-ed articles. He is still actively involved in various projects pertaining to legal reform in South Africa.

Judge Zak Yacoob

Judge Zakeria Muhammed Yacoob was born on March 3, 1948. He became blind at the age of sixteen months as a result of Meningitis. Judge Yacoob attended the Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind, Durban, during the period 1956 to 1966. He studied for the Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University-College, Durban (now the University of Durban-Westville), 1967 to 1969, majoring in English and Private Law. He completed the Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Durban-Westville 1972. He was admitted as advocate by the Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court (as it was then known, March 12 1973.

He practiced as a Junior Counsel from Durban, July 1973 to May 1991. During this period he represented and advised many people who were prosecuted for contraventions of the provisions of restriction orders imposed in terms of security legislation; represented and advised persons and organizations who were the victims of other oppressive legislation; was instructed to appear and did appear on behalf of people in attempt to secure their release from detention in terms of security legislation or emergency measures; represented victims of attempted unfair evictions or people who were required to pay unfair tariffs and charges; represented a group of persons who became known as the “Durban Six” in negotiations with the British Government when the “Durban Six” occupied the offices of the British Consulate Durban during September-October 1984 as a protest against apartheid and unjust laws in an effort to persuade the Government to help. Also, represented their case before Secretary-General and representatives of certain member countries of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and its affiliates charges of treason and certain statutory offences during the period 1985 until 1981 a trial that became known as the “Delmas Treason Trial”, represented the accused in the political trial that became known as the, “Vula” trial involving high-ranking members of the African National Congress during the period 1990 until 1991; and sustained a significant and diverse commercial and general legal practice. He served as a member of the Society of Advocates of Natal for several years and tool Silk during May 1991.

Judge Zak Yacoob was actively involved the resistance against apartheid. During 1979-1984 he served as chairperson and a member of the executive of the Democratic Lawyers Association (the predecessor of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers) Durban. He participated in the foundational work which gave rise to the United Democratic Front during, 1983 to 1985 and served as an interim Publicity Secretary from 1984-1985 and also a member of the Natal Executive. On behalf of various organizations he planned and executed a campaign against the institutions of and elections for the tricameral parliament during, 1983-1985. He assisted with the planning and the setting up of national, regional and local structures necessary to ensure the success of the first democratic election in South Africa. He advised political parties, facilitated negotiations, participated in drafting, conducted research and, in particular, assisted with those aspects Panel of Independent Experts of the Constitutional Assembly, appointed in terms of Chapter 5 of the Interim Constitution. Judge Yacoob also advised local government bodies and assisted them in the conceptualization, formation and constitution of the South African Local Government Association.

He advised the National Land Committee on its response to legislation aimed at ensuring land tenure security, particularly for tenants. He is a board member of the Human Rights Commission Trust and of Reconstruct Trust. He was appointed a judge of the Constitutional Court by President Mandela on February 1, 1990.

Professor Maria “Riekie” Wandrag

Riekie Wandrag has B.Iuris, LL.B- and LL.M degrees (cum laude) from the University of the Free State and an LL.M degree in International Law from Cambridge University. She joined the Faculty of Law at UWC in November 1994 after returning from Cambridge. Before leaving for Cambridge, Prof Wandrag worked as researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State.

Prof Wandrag served as Deputy Dean from January 2007 to December 2008, during which time she also acted as Dean. She headed the Department of Public Affairs in the Faculty of Law from January 2001 to June 2002 and again from July 2004 to December 2006. The main function of this department was the promotion of the Faculty to the broader community. Prof Wandrag has been a member of the Faculty Executive and the University Senate in different capacities since 2001.

Prof Wandrag is currently Head of the Mercantile and Labour Law Department, where she specializes in Corporate Law and International Trade, Business and Investment Law. Her main research interest is Foreign Investment Law and Regulation. She recently presented papers and published particularly in the area of Investment Regulation within a regional context as well as on the link between Investment Regulation and the opportunities created by Climate Change requirements as well as the harmonization of contract laws in OHADA and SADC.

Riekie has served as supervisor, co-supervisor and examiner for numerous, LL.M mini- dissertations, full theses and Doctorates from various Universities. She is the coordinator of the LLM Programme in International Trade, Business and Investment Law and the Annual Howard University Summer School Programme.

Prof Wandrag is an editor of the accredited academic journal Law, Democracy and Development and she has served as referee for this and other accredited South African Law Journals.

Professor Adam H. Kurland

Professor Kurland received his BA and JD degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been a member of the law faculty at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. for twenty-five years. He teaches Criminal Law, Evidence, Advanced Criminal Procedure and Federal Criminal Law. He has also taught a number a number of advanced Criminal Law Seminars, with topics ranging from the death penalty, sentencing and incarceration, public corruption and international aspects of double jeopardy. He is a recognized scholar in the areas of double jeopardy and federal criminal jurisdiction. He has published numerous law review articles in journals such as the George Washington Law Review, Emory Law Journal, Southern California Law Review and the UCLA Law Review. He has also published a leading double jeopardy treatise: Successive Criminal Prosecutions: The Dual Sovereignty Exception to Double Jeopardy in State and Federal Courts. Professor Kurland’s scholarship is often cited in legal treatises and in appellate court opinions throughout the United States.

Prior to entering academia, Professor Kurland was a Federal Prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice, where he prosecuted narcotics, bank robbery, and fraud cases. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, for the past twenty-five years he has been a member of the federal appellate panel in the District of Columbia, where he accepts court appointed appeals and represents indigent defendants in federal criminal appeals. He has litigated appeals concerning a wide range of charges, including public corruption, white-collar fraud, homicide, and narcotics offenses.

He is also an avid golfer and looks forward to playing some of the spectacular golf courses in South Africa


Participants will be housed in two and three bedroom apartments just off Cape Town or near downtown. Participants may be staying at separate apartment complexes which are approximately 10 minutes apart. Each room will be shared by two persons. The apartments are fully furnished with linen, cutlery, and dishes.


In general, accommodations for disabled persons are not widely available in South Africa. University of Western Cape buildings are generally accessible to individuals with disabilities. Cape Town and certain aspects of the tour may not be accessible in all circumstances. All inquiries in this regard should be directed to the program director.

Medical Insurance

Every student must have some form of medical insurance coverage which applies in South Africa and submit proof, in writing, to Howard University before entering the program.

You are encouraged to find out from your health insurance provider whether they provide coverage for overseas medical expenses. Even if you are covered, you are encouraged to take a credit card and claim forms for emergencies as some treatment facilities require payment at the time of treatment. If you do not have medical coverage, you must obtain coverage before you depart the United States.

Insurance may be bought at reasonable rates from:

  1. International Student Identification Cards. You should apply at any Council Travel Office. Call 1-800-40-STUDY
  2. Travel Guard International provides travel insurance that includes medical insurance. They can be contacted at 1-800-826-1300.


United States citizens usually do not require tourist visas when visiting South Africa for less than ninety days.

If you have any questions concerning visas, please contact the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C., at (202) 966-1650.

Cost of Program

The cost of the program for each student is $5790.00. This sum includes tuition (for two or three courses), cost of books and class materials, housing, tours, and internal transportation (where applicable). The cost does not include the $50 non-refundable application fee. The fees are paid as follows:

  1. A non-refundable registration fee of $600 is due two weeks following your acceptance into the program. The fee will reserve your place and accommodations in the program and a dormitory room.
  2. A second non-refundable amount of $800 is due by April 2, 2015
  3. The balance of $4,390.00 is due by May 3, 2015

Payment may be processed to the University by cashier’s check, money order or credit card. All cashier’s checks should be made payable to Howard University School of Law and will be accepted by mail. Credit card payments are accepted for MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. Please be sure to complete the authorization form and return it with the application.

Any student who has an outstanding balance as of June 05, 2015 will be charged a late fee of $500.

Estimated Expenses

In addition to the cost of the program, you will have the following expenses which can only be estimated at this time:

Air Fare $1750.00
Meals $1250.00
Miscellaneous Expenses $ 800.00
TOTAL $3,800.00


You are encouraged to make your air reservations ahead of time to get the best possible rate. Instead of booking directly with the airline companies, check the internet and travel sections of your newspapers such as the New York Times and/or the Washington Post for travel wholesalers who sometimes offer cheap trips to South Africa. As was the case last year, the program organizers will reserve a block of seats on a flight leaving from one or two major U.S. cities at a further discounted rate. Participants in the program will be informed by late February about the discounted group rate. Those traveling with the group will be picked up from the airport and be transported to their apartments.

Financial Aid

Student applicants should contact the Financial Aid Office at their respective schools to inquire about funding sources available. Students who plan to apply for aid should begin early as possible (late January or February) to ensure that funds are available by payment due dates.

If you apply for financial aid and your law school enters into a consortium agreement with Howard University, you will need to pay your registration fee of $600 to secure your spot in the program. The rest of your fees will be due when your financial aid is disbursed but no later than ten days before the start of the program. You are responsible for ensuring that your school disburses your financial aid before the start of the program.


Program fees are non-refundable.

If prior to its commencement the program is canceled, all fees advanced by students will be returned within 20 days after the date of cancellation.

If there are significant changes in the course offerings or other aspects of the program, applicants who have paid a deposit or registered and/or of prior to the commencement of the program, a U.S. State Department Travel Warning is issued for the Cape Town area, or the cape area of South Africa is declared an “Area of Instability,” all registrants will be notified promptly and given an opportunity to withdraw from the program. A full refund of all fees or deposits advanced will be returned 21 days after notice of withdrawal.

For More Information

Additional information concerning the program will be sent to those accepted in the program.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call the Office of Admission at (202) 806-8008/8009, fax (202) 806-8162 or the program director, Professor Ziyad Motala, at (202) 806-8044, e-mail or write to us at:

2900 Van Ness Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

We look forward to having you for what offers to be an exciting and stimulating program in South Africa.

updated: August 25, 2014