Aika Swai, Profile Picture

Lecturer // Consultant // Coach // Editor

ABOUT ME

I was born in my mother-country that no longer exists – the German Democratic Republic. As a toddler I moved to Tanzania, my father-country, where I grew up multilingual and surrounded by storytellers. By the time I graduated from the International School of Moshi, I was certain that I wanted to become a teacher of stories and storytellers. Craving to continue my immersion in a multicultural community, I moved to the United States where I completed my BA in Comparative Literature, followed by an MA in Modern Thought and Literature, at Stanford University. After many years of teaching in a wide variety of classrooms on both coasts of the USA, I moved to South Africa in 2016 to complete my PhD in the University of Cape Town’s Department of English Literary Studies. The title of my dissertation is “Decolonizing magic while 'keeping it real' in a selection of African and American (Indian) novels written in English.”

 

Throughout my career in literary studies I have been concerned with the art and methods for teaching literature in multicultural classrooms. I am interested in instructional practices and learning design that matches the demands of our current moment in the 21st century and I care deeply about my students’ growth in analytical thinking and academic writing. Because of my transnational experience, I have been privileged to teach students from many different linguistic and socio-cultural backgrounds. One of the most fascinating outcomes of this teaching experience is my perspective on how African literature ought to be taught outside of Africa and how American literature ought to be taught in Africa. These cross-Atlantic observations influence both content and form of my lectures as I continue to shape and shift my African-American identity. 

 

I’m also the mother of four children who demand great stories and even greater storytelling on a daily basis. 

 

CONTEXTS

English, German, Swahili

High school & undergraduate instruction

Inclusive of low-literacy learners

Expertise in intercultural education

WORK EXPERIENCE

  • Present

Lecturer & Tutor

University of Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa

  • 2017 - 2020

Faculty Lead & Lecturer

CIEE Council on International Educational Exchange

Cape Town, South Africa

  • 2011-2016

Instructional Coach & 
Educational Consultant

New York Department of Education

New York City, New York

EDUCATION

Stanford University

BA Comparative Literature 2003

MA Modern Thought and Literature 2004

Stanford, California

University of Cape Town

English Literary Studies 
PhD anticipated 2022

Cape Town, South Africa