Give us a brief description of your background (home country, family, education, etc.)
My name is Ayanda Nxusani. I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Cape Town in South Africa. I was raised by an incredibly strong woman who has helped shape the young lady that I am and I aim to make her proud at every turn.
I graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Social Science with majors in Politics, International Relations and Economic History. I am particularly interested in Transitional Justice with a special focus on violence prevention, peace, trauma healing and reconciliation for both victim and perpetrators of gross human rights violations.
What got you interested in interfaith dialogue and the program at Hartford Seminary?
I had never engaged in any formal interfaith work but have had an interest in the interplay between religion and politics for as long as I can remember. Being a Christian and having majored in Politics, I knew there was somehow a way to merge these two passions of mine. My mentor Bonolo Makgale, who is a social justice activist and public theologian, suggested the International Peacemakers Program and as I looked deeper into the work that Hartford Seminary does, I was drawn into it. I saw that what Hartford Seminary offers is unique and I couldn’t pass by the chance of being part of this institution.
Briefly describe the conflicts that you would like to address at home after your year at Hartford Seminary
Some of the conflicts that exist in South Africa stem from the historical context in which we find ourselves in, and also in the interruptions and compromises that happened during the transitional processes between 1990-1994.
I would like to further explore the relationship between violent conflicts of the past and how South Africa’s violence shapes our present realities. Coupled with this would also be applying the mediation skills I gain from being at Hartford Seminary and using them to build sustainable reconciliation, conflict prevention and tolerance in South Africa, on the continent and internationally.