By AFRO Staff

A 20-year-old Albany University Biology major has returned from a study abroad trip in South Africa, an experience he describes as “extraordinary” and “empowering.”

Chiagoziem “Sylvester” Agu, a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow of the Council on International Educational Exchange, spent four weeks in Cape Town that he found to be a study in “political blackness, black consciousness, and the complexities of colored identity.”

Chiagoziem “Sylvester” Agu (Courtesy Photo)

His remarks were first published by way of and

Agu first arrived in the United States in 2001, at the conclusion a 6,000 mile trip from his first home in Nigeria. After a year in pre-K, Agu returned to Nigeria where his father is a journalist and geography professor. Agu’s mother lives in Texas with one of his six sisters. Agu moved back to the US in 2012 and enrolled in high school.

”I studied hard academically but didn’t realize how much I had to learn culturally,” Agu wrote.”It was actually a blessing for me to have the time to assimilate and spend time with American youth in high school.”

Observing and practicing different cultures prepared Agu for his trip to South Africa as a Nigerian, an American, and a Nigerian-American.

“Learning about South Africa’s history and the intricacies of colored identity that pervade the country allowed me to carefully analyze and process how similar South Africa is to the United States,” Agu wrote. “Although the terms that classify different racial subgroups are different and the history of colonization might be different, the struggle remains the same.”

Similarly, he now reports that he is bringing the knowledge from Cape Town and Johannesburg back the US.

“I am eager to take all the insight, motivation, and knowledge I found in Cape Town and give it back to my family, friends, and community,” Agu wrote. “My experience in Cape Town as a Frederick Douglas Global Fellow was like getting a new pair of glasses – I felt like I was suddenly able to see more clearly.”