NGO Photography Summer Courses

Be part of a summer course that explores the role of photography in an NGO context. Based in the stunning and fascinating city of Cape Town, this course offers students unique ways of studying the impact visual media can have on social development projects in South Africa. As a participant you can apply your learning to one of our chosen NGOs and develop a visual story-telling method to support the NGO, as well as hone your photography and inter-cultural communication skills.

This program is a collaboration between Penda Trust, a photography-focused NGO, and African Impact, a facilitator of inter-cultural and community engagement initiatives throughout Eastern and Southern Africa. During this program, all lectures and workshops will be given by local Faculty and field experts. To ensure maximum professional development, you’ll be guided by an academic adviser along the way. All logistics will be taken care off too, so that the group can focus fully on getting the most out of the experience.

To download our brochure click on the link NGO Photography Summer Course



  • Learn to identify and critically analyze perceptions that stereotype international development in Africa
  • Benefit from expert knowledge of both African and European development studies
  • Explore Cape Town, voted the Design Capital of the World and home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
  • Discover a diverse culture that embraces the myriad of cultural influences; from colonial to the rebirth of celebrated African heritage

Quick Facts

  • Location Cape Town, South Africa
  • Academic Focus International Development, Visual Anthropology, African Studies, Photography, New Media, Visual Media, Psychology
  • Recommended Credits 3 US Credits
  • Academic Prerequisites None. 3rd year undergraduate level recommended

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Destination Description

Cape Town is arguably one the most stunning cities in the world. Framed between oceans and mountains, it’s surrounded by incredible natural beauty, with Table Mountain, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, an absolute highlight. Cape Town is also a place of huge diversity, lively cultures, and a vibrant nightlife. Living here is dynamic and interesting, and weekends will give you a huge variety of exciting activities. You can, for instance, venture to the top of Table Mountain, visit the historic Robben Island, drive to the iconic Cape Point, or hang out on some of the many beaches. If you’re into food and design, you can also choose to visit some of the trendy markets for some culinary treats and locally designed goods. Moreover, once you venture outside of Cape Town, you’ll find gorgeous winelands and stunning National Parks that are well worth a good road trip.

Learning Outcomes

Get first-hand exposure to the reality of a city in a third-world country, which whilst characterized by one of the starkest Gini coefficients in the world, has one of the world’s fastest-growing local economies and is a culturally-vibrant metropolis.

Throughout your course, you will:

  • Learn to use photography as a medium for critically analyzing the international development landscape
  • Develop an understanding of how visual media has influenced stereotypes of the “third world”
  • Explore realities versus perceptions of the “third world”
  • Develop an understanding of international development in a South African context


Service Impact

The shedding of long-standing stereotypes can only be accomplished through critical analysis en masse. Applying and sharing your new-found skills outside of the third world and across disciplines will contribute to reshaping harmful commonly-accepted perceptions. The applications of your photography skill will form part of the marketing and promotion of your chosen NGO’s cause.

  • WEEK 1

    Historical Context of Photography in South Africa

    Your first week will comprise and in-depth orientation where you will be introduced to the overarching themes of the course, familiarize yourself with the course schedule and set expectations. You will enjoy lectures on South African history and photography, and during a short language course you will learn some basic Xhosa.

    Enjoy a photography workshop, covering camera use and composition, plus put your new skills into practice during several photography sessions in some iconic areas of Cape Town, including a sunset session on Signal Hill and a street photography session in Bo-kaap.

    Practical examples and your first group reflection will leave you with a sound understanding of the subject matter and concepts to be explored by the end of your first week.

  • WEEK 2

    The Role of Visual Media in Development Work

    Your second week will be characterized by deeper understanding into the value and impact of photography in South Africa. Enjoy lectures on the role of photography in a historical and contemporary sense, the role of photography in advocacy campaigns, and the visualization of trauma in contemporary theory and practice. Learn about Cape Town’s township areas, both during a lecture on the history and culture of these townships, and a visit to Khayelitsha, the second largest township in South Africa. Refine your photography skills during a full-day post producton workshop, and delve into several photography sessions, including to the top of Table Mountain.

  • WEEK 3

    Ethics in NGO Photography

    In your third week, your lectures will build on best practice and ethics in photography. THis then would be the foundation for developing the best product for your selected NGO. In this week you will be allocated to a pre-selected NGO where you will spend a full day observing and learning about its mission. You will consult and develop a concept for this NGO, drawing from the knowledge and insights gained whilst guided by a professional photographer. This concept will be presented to your peers for review and individual consultation with your academic lead will give you a deeper understanding of the concepts and processes, and allow for effective refining. A guided reflection will help you analyze your processes as you proceed into your final week. We’ll end the week with a full-day excursion to Chapman’s Peak Drive, the penguin colony in Simon’s Town, and Cape Point National Park.

  • WEEK 4

    Practical NGO Photography Projects

    Your course culminates in the exhibition of your final product, as well as a presentation of your work to your selected NGO, which forms part of your service impact. In this final week you will have some time to capture images, complete post production work with a professional photographer and prepare for the final presentation.

    During the course of this week, you will have further opportunity to consult with your selected NGO as well as your NGO photography expert.

June 19 - July 17 2018

$4995 for the 4 weeks

$500 early bird discount – book before February 15th 2018

This fee includes:

  • Accommodation
  • Three meals per day Monday – Friday
  • Transfers from Cape Town airport
  • Support services from African Impact with daily guidance.
  • All lectures and talks
  • Academic support and guidance
  • Any administrative support to help you get credit with your home university

Not included in this fee:

  • International flights to Cape Town
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Meals at weekends
  • Travel insurance

Check out what’s included:

We know for you to get the best out of your time, we need to take care of you. This is what you can expect from us ……

  • You will be collected from the airport and taken to your new home (look out for the sign with your name on)
  • Our accommodation will be home away from home in areas we have personally selected to ensure your safety and in a central bohemian location in Cape Town
  • On arrival you will have a full induction to your new home, location and how the next 4 weeks will evolve
  • All your meals will be provided for the duration of the course, by our cooks onsite, catering for all dietary needs (with a few exceptions of free days and weekends)
  • It’s a given that any transport needs whilst on our program will be provided from our qualified drivers
  • Our cleaning team will ensure shared living is easy and your washing is ready for the next day
  • 24 hour emergency support is always provided
  • No one is ever in a hurry to leave but we will ensure that we supply a ride back to the airport for you