South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid, Building Democracy

Tags: Africa, History, National Endowment for the Humanities

South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid, Building Democracy tells the story of the South African struggle for freedom and democracy in the face of racial tyranny. The Overcoming Apartheid archive presents first-hand accounts of this important political movement via interviews with South African activists, raw video footage, historical documents, and rare photographs.

This site has been particularly designed to meet the needs of educators who are seeking to utilize primary source materials in their teaching and research on the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. The site helps arrange materials around eight chronologically arranged narrative units. These essays give contextualizing narrative text about each subject and point directly to the archival materials (including video and images) that illustrate and support that narrative.  Because the traditional textbook narratives explaining apartheid and the movement to end apartheid in South Africa are often cursory at best— and inaccurate at worst —the Overcoming Apartheid site meets a critical need for more robust, engaging, and accessible teaching materials on apartheid and its consequences in South Africa.

Some of these teaching materials are in-depth audio-visual interviews with crucial players in the South African liberation movement, including Desmond Tutu, Mary Burton, and Ahmed Kathrada (among many, many others). Each interview is presented in full-length with specific portions of the interviews time-coded to allow for the efficient locating of discussions of specific subjects (such as the pass laws, political prisoners, or the Truth and Reconciliation Commission). Other materials include rare photographs of the anti-apartheid movement, academic essays, maps, and historical documents. Overcoming Apartheid is truly a one-stop resource for educators and scholars interested in the study and teaching of the apartheid resistance movement in South Africa.