You are on page 1of 10

K-12 Outreach: Lesson Plan Modules

Module Title: South African Apartheid and the Transition to Democracy Author: Erin Mosely, Doctoral Candidate, African Studies & History, Harvard University Module Overview and General information: The objective of this module is to provide a brief introduction to apartheid (a system of racial segregation in South Africa established in 1948), as well as an overview of some of the key moments in the struggle to overcome apartheid, and the countrys dramatic transition to democracy that took place in 1994. In order to make this enormously complex topic accessible and appealing to a range of students, teachers are encouraged to take a thematic approach. Thus, in lieu of providing extensive sample activities, we conclude this module with a selection of focus themes, which can stand alone or be used together as part of a more comprehensive unit on apartheid. Ultimately, our goal is to provide teachers with a variety of ideas for how to incorporate the history of modern South Africa into their classrooms, by identifying universal themes and by drawing connections between apartheid and numerous other comparative topics. K-12 Classes this could be used for: (ex. History, Literature, Current Events, etc) World History, Social Studies, Civil Rights, Social Justice/Human Rights, the Humanities Content: Please note that our intention here is not to provide an extensive narrative history of the rise and fall of the apartheid state. There are plenty of extremely valuable sources online already providing such content, in particular www.overcomingapartheid.msu.edu and www.sahistory.org.za, which we highly encourage you to explore. In what follows we provide an overview of the defining features of apartheid (and the legal/bureaucratic apparatus that made it possible), as well as a basic timeline, introducing some of the key figures, events, and pivotal turning points in South Africas modern history. Key Features of Apartheid: Racial Classification: o A system of laws, upheld by Race Classification Boards, designated each individual in South Africa as White, Native, Coloured (mixed), or Asian (most Asian South Africans are of Indian origin)1 o A persons racial identity codified in an ID document subsequently determined every aspect of his/her social, political, and economic life
Under the Population Registration Act of 1950, South Africans were divided into 3 groups: European, Native, and Coloured. In 1959, updated legislation subdivided the Coloured community into several groups, including Asian subgroups.
1

Pass Laws o Regulating and restricting the mobility of black South Africans, these laws became increasingly harsh and led to countless arrests during the apartheid era, until they were finally repealed in 1986 Migrant Labor System o White-owned diamond and gold mines, as well as farms, relied on cheap, black labor in order to be lucrative. Thus, white-owned businesses, together with the state, developed an elaborate system of labor migrancy coercing men from all over southern Africa to come work on farms and in the mines as migrant laborers with very few rights o Eventually this system expanded to include female migrant workers, too, who came to work primarily as domestic servants in white homes Bantustans (Native Homelands) o The Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959 divided black South Africans into ten discrete ethnic groups and assigned a native homeland to each o The Bantustans constituted only 13% of the land (for approximately 75% of the population) and eventually stripped black South Africans of even their citizenship Forced Removals o In order to uphold the apartheid policy of total segregation, from the 1960s to the early 1980s some 3.5 million blacks, Coloureds, and Asians were forced to move into segregated townships, or to overcrowded resettlement camps within the Bantustans, where the apartheid state would have no responsibility for their welfare (the apartheid government referred to this process as black spot removal)

Colonial Antecedents to Apartheid: Dutch colonial conquest (starting in 1652) and the expropriation of native lands Two occupying powers vying for control (Dutch/Afrikaner and British) Mining and the establishment of the color bar o Prompted by the discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1886 Development and institutionalization of the migratory labor system The Natives Land Act of 1913 o Reserved 93 percent of the land in South Africa for whites, created native reserves that were a forerunner of the apartheid-era Bantustans The Rise of the Apartheid State: In 1948 the Afrikaner nationalists (National Party, NP) assume power and begin systematizing the uneven segregation that had existed in S. Africa for centuries The architects of apartheid NP leaders D. F. Malan and Hendrik Verwoerd In practice, apartheid was a system of laws designed to fully separate blacks and whites and to marginalize black South Africans in all sectors of society By 1960, sheltered by state force and fueled by international capital, the Nationalists see their vision for the country as legitimate and successful British Prime Minister Macmillan gives his famous Winds of Change speech, and South Africans vote in a 1960 referendum to become a republic but remain in the Commonwealth. At the 1961 Imperial Conference in London, it is made clear that South Africa might be forced out of the Commonwealth if it persists with its 2

apartheid policies. In 1961 South Africa voluntarily leaves the Commonwealth To further control the African majority, the NP creates the Bantustans, which eventually strip black South Africans of even their citizenship Successive crackdowns on African resistance and the jailing of major political leaders during the 1960s and 1970s gives the NP a sense of confidence and stability Continued influxes of wealth in the late 1970s and early 1980s temporarily buoy the apartheid state

Apartheid Legislation: For a comprehensive look at the legal apparatus that made apartheid possible, see pp. 448-477 of the TRC Final Report, Vol. 1, which includes a full list of apartheid laws: http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/report/finalreport/Volume%201.pdf Anti-Apartheid Resistance: o Establishment of the African National Congress (ANC) in 19122 o Aimed to defend the rights and freedoms of black South Africans o Remained relatively conservative until the 1940s, when it gained new life o Evolved into a mass movement in the 1950s (corresponding, not coincidentally, with the rise of the National Party) Defiance Campaign of 1952 o Led to violent crackdown by South African government, but ANC membership skyrockets Freedom Charter of 1955 o Vision for future of South Africa (in fact, basis for new constitution in the 1990s), but leads to more government crackdowns Womens March of 1956 in Pretoria o 10,000-20,000 women representing all racial backgrounds march on the Union Buildings in protest of the pass laws o Women sang the now famous song that exclaimed, Strijdom, you have tampered with the women, you have struck a rock (J. G. Strijdom was Prime Minister at the time) Radicalization of the movement creates a crisis of direction and methods o In 1958 the more radical Africanists secede from the ANC o Robert Sobukwe and the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 o Mass boycott of pass laws o Police fire on demonstrators, 67 people killed, 187 wounded o Captured on film, Sharpeville puts South Africa on the international stage o Leadership of PAC and ANC are arrested o Marks the end of passive resistance for both groups Creation of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) or Spear of the Nation in 1961 o Armed wing of the ANC, led by Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu o Rivonia Trial of 1964: Mandela and Sisulu (among others) are given life sentences on Robben Island o MK continues to train and operate, engaging in secret, often violent,
2

The ANC was originally called the South African Natives National Congress.

missions Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement o Grew out of the South African Students Organization (SASO) of the late 1960s and early 1970s o Led by Steve Biko, highly charismatic and articulate spokesman o Stressed that blacks should take their future into their own hands o Galvanized by the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. o Steve Biko arrested and killed by South African security forces in 1977 Soweto Uprising of 1976 o Protest of school children against the Bantu Education Act o Like Sharpeville, police opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, killing two young students, Hastings Ndlovu and Hector Pieterson o This sparks a series of uprisings in more than 100 urban and rural areas o From 1976 onward, South Africa is considered ungovernable International Anti-Apartheid Campaign o Spread information, raised money, organized boycotts and divestment campaigns o South Africa effectively turned into a pariah state Trade Unions and the Creation of COSATU o Badly in need of legitimacy, the South African govt. is forced to recognize COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) by the late 1970s o Thereafter, unions become one of the mainstays of internal anti-apartheid activism United Democratic Front (UDF) o Umbrella organization formed in the late 1980s, made up of students, church and womens groups State of Emergency, 1985 o As agitation persists and becomes more violent the government responds by declaring a State of Emergency, which lasts for five years o Mass arrests, repression, press black outs, demonstrations, and strikes continue into the early 1990s

What Really Caused the Fall of Apartheid? Like most cases of anti-colonialism, the fall of apartheid was not only the result of concerted, multi-racial protest and opposition, though this was crucial in delegitimizing the regime Equally important were the changing attitudes of the ruling party & business elites o Unraveling of Afrikaner alliances o A shift in economic priorities economic downturn in the mid-1980s o Bureaucracy of apartheid seen as too expensive and violence/instability as bad for business The Transition to Democracy: The Release of Nelson Mandela in 1990: o Mandelas release from prison and the lifting of the ban on the ANC and other political associations provided the foundation for a series of negotiations which ultimately led to a new constitution and the first free election in South Africas history in 1994 The New South African Constitution: 4

o The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) met from 1991-1992 to negotiate a new constitution. Although disagreements were rife and the talks broke down on numerous occasions, Mandela and thenPresident F. W. de Klerk succeeded in reaching a Record of Understanding, which led to the creation of a Multi-Party Negotiating Forum in 1993. In November of that year, the Forum agreed on an interim constitution, paving the way toward democratic elections and the establishment of a Government of National Unity The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC): o To be sure, the TRC was the result of intense political compromises between the NP and the ANC o Enacted into law in 1995, it remains one of the most high profile examples of how a society might effectively make amends with a violent past. As a mechanism for investigating apartheid, the TRC was tasked to assemble as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes, and extent of gross violations of human rights committed between 1 March 1960 and 5 December 1993 (TRC Mandate) o South Africas TRC was the first truth commission to offer conditional amnesty, a decision it defended in the name of restorative justice o Archbishop Desmond Tutu served as the chairperson of the TRC, alongside 17 commissioners appointed by Nelson Mandela o The TRC proceedings were broadcast live on radio and television, making them widely accessible to the majority of the country o Despite its success, the TRC faced numerous criticisms Overlooking the issue of structural violence, imposing what many considered to be a confining reconciliation framework, and reducing the highly gendered experiences of living during the apartheid era to a series of civil and political rights violations, the TRC ultimately restricted, and on a certain level pre-determined, the overall story that would be told about the past. Despite its notable achievements, the Commission was heavily faulted, both for its overemphasis on symbolic redress and for its perceived failure to convey a meaningful truth about apartheid

Recommended Resources: (Books, films, websites, etc) a. General List Selected Books: Peter Alegi, Laduma! Soccer, Politics and Society in South Africa, 2004 Kader Asmal, Louise Asmal and Ronald Suresh Roberts, Reconciliation through Truth: A Reckoning of Apartheids Criminal Governance, 1997 William Beinart and Saul Dubow (eds.), Segregation and Apartheid in TwentiethCentury South Africa, 1995 Steve Biko, I Write What I Like, 1978 Nancy L. Clark and William Worger (eds.), South Africa: The Rise and Fall of Apartheid, Second Edition, 2011 (Includes primary source documents) Annie E. Coombes, History After Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa, 2003 Margaret Daymond et al. (eds.), Women Writing Africa: The Southern Region, 2003 (Includes fiction, newspaper articles, songs, praise poems, etc. by women) Jacob Dlamini, Native Nostalgia, 2010 Saul Dubow, The African National Congress, 2000 Mark Gevisser, A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African Dream, 2009 Hermann Giliomee, The Afrikaners: Biography of a People, 2003 Lyn S. Graybill, Truth And Reconciliation In South Africa: Miracle Or Model?, 2002 Priscilla Hayner, Unspeakable Truths: Facing the Challenge of Truth Commissions, 2002 Jonathan Hyslop, The Classroom Struggle: Policy and Resistance in South Africa, 19401990, 1999 Daniel R. Magaziner, The Law and the Prophets: Black Consciousness in South Africa, 2010 Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 1994 Shula Marks, Not Either an Experimental Doll: The Separate Worlds of Three South African Women, 1987. Includes primary source letters between a troubled schoolgirl in the early years of apartheid and two of her mentors. Shula Marks and Stanley Trapido (eds.), The Politics of Race, Class, and Nationalism in Twentieth-Century South Africa, 1987 Darren Newbury, Defiant Images: Photography and Apartheid South Africa, 2009 Lauretta Ngcobo (ed.), Prodigal Daughters: Stories of South African Women in Exile, 2012 Sarah Nuttall and Carli Coetzee, Negotiating the Past: The Making of Memory in South Africa, 1998 Grant Olwage (ed.), Composing Apartheid: Music for and against Apartheid, 2008 John Peffer, Art and the End of Apartheid, 2009 Fiona Ross, Bearing Witness: Women and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, 2003 Robert Ross, A Concise History of South Africa, Second Edition, 2008 Albie Sachs, The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law, 2009 Judy Seidman, Red on Black: The Story of the South African Poster Movement, 6

2007 South African Democracy Education Trust, The Road to Democracy: South Africans Telling Their Stories, 2008 Leonard Thompson, A History of South Africa, Third Edition, 2001 Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness, 1999 David Welsh, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid, 2009 Sue Williamson, Resistance Art in South Africa, Cape Town: David Philip, 1989 Richard A. Wilson, The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Legitimizing the Post-Apartheid State, 2001 Nigel Worden, The Making of Modern South Africa: Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, Fifth Edition, 2011 Diana Wylie, Art and Revolution: The Life and Death of Thami Mnyele, South African Artist, 2008

Selected Documentaries and Films: 21 Up South Africa: Mandelas Children, 2007 Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony, 2003 Courting Justice, 2008 Cry the Beloved Country, 1995 The Deadline, 1996 Fahrenheit 2010: Warming up for the World Cup, 2009 Have You Heard from Johannesburg? (five-part PBS documentary series on the global anti-apartheid movement), 2012 Jerusalema, 2008 Invictus, 2010 Long Nights Journey into Day, 2000 Mapantsula, 1988 Maids and Madams, 1986 RFK in the Land of Apartheid: Ripple of Hope, 2009 Rhythm of Resistance: The Black Music of South Africa, 2000 Skin, 2011 Sarafina, 1987 (musical), 1992 (film) South Africa: Building Democracy, 1999 Tsotsi, 2006 Voices from Robben Island, 1994 Zandile: In the Light of Ubuntu, 1997 Selected Novels: Mark Behr, The Smell of Apples, 1993 Troy Blacklaws, Karoo Boy, 2005 Andr Brink, A Dry White Season, 1979 J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace, 1999 Achmat Dangor, Bitter Fruit, 2001 Athol Fugard, The Blood Knot, 1963 Lisa Fugard, Skinners Drift, 2006 Nadine Gordimer, A World of Strangers, 1958 Nadine Gordimer, The Pickup, 2002

Alex La Guma, A Walk in the Night, 1962 Sindiwe Magona, Living, Loving, and Lying Awake at Night, 1991 Zakes Mda, Ways of Dying, 1995 Niq Mhlongo, Dog Eat Dog, 2004 Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to Our Hillbrow, 2001 Njabulo S. Ndebele, The Cry of Winnie Mandela, 2003 Njabulo S. Ndebele, Fools and Other Stories, 1983 Lauretta Ngcobo, And They Didnt Die, 1991 Alan Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country, 1948 Gillian Slovo, Red Dust, 2000 Miriam Tlali, Muriel at Metropolitan, 1979 Zo Wicomb, You Cant Get Lost in Cape Town, 1987

Selected Memoirs: Peter Abrahams, Tell Freedom, 1954 Edwin Cameron, Witness to AIDS, 2005 F. W. de Klerk, The Last Trek: A New Beginning, 1998 Antjie Krog, Country of My Skull, 1999 Ellen Kuzwayo, Call Me Woman, 1985 Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 1994 Mark Mathabane, Kaffir Boy, 1986 Bloke Modisane, Blame Me on History, 1963 Eskia Mphahlele, Down Second Avenue, 1959 Mamphela Ramphele, Across Boundaries: The Journey of a South African Woman Leader, 1996 Selected Websites: African National Congress (ANC) Official Website: http://www.anc.org.za South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission Official Website: http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/index.html Overcoming Apartheid, Building Democracy: http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu South African History Online: http://www.sahistory.org.za/grade-11/apartheidrace-segregation-and-human-rights H-NET South African History Module (from the Exploring Africa Series): http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu/teachers/curriculum/m29/activity2.php South Africa: The Struggle for Democracy (includes an interactive timeline): http://southafricaproject.facinghistory.org/ The Apartheid Museum: http://www.apartheidmuseum.org/ The District Six Museum: http://www.districtsix.co.za/ Constitution Hill: http://www.constitutionhill.org.za/ The Nelson Mandela Museum: http://www.nelsonmandelamuseum.org.za/ Robben Island Museum: http://www.robben-island.org.za/ Rise and Fall of Apartheid (International Center of Photography Exhibit): http://www.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/apartheid Excerpts from Nelson Mandelas Long Walk to Freedom: http://archives.obs-us.com/obs/english/books/Mandela/Mandela.html

Traces of Truth: Documents Relating to the South African TRC: http://truth.wwl.wits.ac.za/ South African TRC Videotape Collection (Yale Law School): http://trc.law.yale.edu/ Historical Documents Online (Fordham University): o The National Partys Colour Policy, 1948: http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/mod/1948apartheid1.asp o The Case for Apartheid, speech given by A. L. Geyer, 1953: http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/mod/1953geyer.asp o The Question of South Africa, by Desmond Tutu, 1984: http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/mod/1984tutu.asp The Life and Times of Nelson Mandela: Speeches, Interviews, Etc: http://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/landing/life-times-of-nelson-mandela AIDS Foundation of South Africa: http://www.aids.org.za/ South African Music (compiled by Stanford University): http://library.stanford.edu/depts/ssrg/africa/southafrica/rsamusic.html

b. Example of how to incorporate one resource Screen the documentary RFK in the Land of Apartheid: Ripple of Hope, which follows Kennedy to the site of his famous Ripple of Hope speech at the University of Cape Town in 1966, as a way to encourage students to draw connections between the struggle to end apartheid and the Civil Rights Movement here in the U.S. how were these two movements similar in their goals and tactics? How did they differ? In what ways were they connected and/or directly feeding off one another? See the films website to view a trailer: http://www.rfksafilm.org/html/about.php Take your students on a fieldtrip to New York to see the new ICP exhibit (Sept. 14, 2012Jan. 6, 2013): Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life. Visit the International Center of Photography website for more details and to preview some of the exhibits photos: http://www.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/apartheid Potential Activities or Discussions: (could include ideas for games, creative projects, discussion questions, etc.) In lieu of providing extensive sample activities and discussions, we offer a selection of focus themes. By offering a set of thematic entry points into the topic (which can stand alone or be used together as part of a more comprehensive unit on apartheid), our goal is to provide teachers with a diverse range of ideas on how to incorporate the modern history of South Africa into their classrooms. Sample Focus Themes: Making Apartheid Legal: The Creation of Racialized Legislation Forced Removals: Spotlight on District Six The Role of Music in the Struggle Years Women and Apartheid Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement Anti-Apartheid Activism and the American Civil Rights Movement 9

Passive Resistance vs. Armed Struggle: The Evolution of the ANC Global Solidarity: The International Campaign to End Apartheid Apartheid and the Cold War South African Artists during the Struggle Years and Beyond Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation: The TRC and its Critics Literature, Autobiography, and Memory in the Aftermath of Apartheid Continuing Struggles in the New South Africa: Crime, Poverty, and HIV/AIDS Afrikaner Nationalism, Then and Now

Focus Theme Example #1: The TRC and its Critics Screen Long Nights Journey Into Day as an introduction to the TRC. Break your students into small groups and have them peruse the South African TRC Videotape Collection (http://trc.law.yale.edu/). Ask each group to watch a different testimony from the Teaching Episodes section and have them take notes on the bigger themes that emerge from the various encounters they are seeing. Then bring everyone back together for a class discussion on the themes they identified: blame, guilt, forgiveness, amnesty, truth, justice, reconciliation, revenge, etc. Show the class a selection of cartoons by the famous satirical artist Zapiro (available online at http://truth.wwl.wits.ac.za/), as a way to prompt further discussion of the kind of critiques that emerged during the TRC process. Focus Theme Example #2: Afrikaner Nationalism, Then and Now Most introductory lessons on apartheid tend to gloss over Afrikanerdom, which is actually an incredibly complex identity forged over many centuries and subject to continuous change, even today. As a way to probe more deeply into the history of Afrikaner identity (What is it? Where does it come from? What are the key moments that defined and redefined Afrikaner nationalism?) we suggest a number of multimedia activities, including having students explore the White Identities section of the website South Africa: Struggle for Democracy (http://southafricaproject.facinghistory.org/), and having them watch the short video Afrikaner Blood, which documents the fringe group Kommandokorps, led by former apartheid leader Franz Jooste (available online at http://vimeo.com/33522581). We also recommend playing some contemporary Afrikaner music for your students (such as the song De la Rey, by Bok van Blerk), with translations of the lyrics. What are the primary themes, images, and concerns expressed through these songs? And how do those themes relate to Afrikaner history?

Visuals: (any additional maps or pictures that can be used to supplement the lesson) See above-listed websites, all of which contain very good images.

10