Factual Information and Cognitive Skills

After taking this course, the successful student will have an enhanced ability to: apply knowledge and understanding acquired in lower-division coursework in the humanities to a new, but related area of inquiry (apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa); respond in depth to the kinds of issues of language, representation, and historical context that they approached in lower-division study through the interdisciplinary examination of the humanities in South Africa, both during apartheid and after its demise; appreciate the humanistic implications of focusing on South Africa over a half-century and the way in which relationships between various areas—the arts and politics, for example—can provide perspective on knowledge; understand the value of questioning and learning through synthesis; gather, evaluate, interpret, and apply information to situations beyond the classroom; explore in detail the troubled past and more promising present of South Africa in order to comprehend their importance in the nation’s reinvention as a model democracy, committed to inclusion and representation at every level of society; evaluate historical data and place it within the broad context of South African culture—whether entrenched, emerging, gender- and/or diversity-based; and articulate arguments in structured writing-intensive and oral form.

Physical Performance and Procedural Skills

In this writing-intensive course, you are expected to: articulate a minimum of 3,000 words in assignments of various lengths;  and participate in oral communications.

Attitudes, Values, and Social Skills

The successful student will: achieve a greater perspective on South African history and culture, including—but not limited to—its art, literature, music, philosophy, and performance; understand how the current civil rights of South Africans emerge from the mistakes and abuses of their nation’s troubled apartheid past; appreciate the artistic and philosophical dimensions of South African culture, broadly defined; see how “high culture”—such as canonized literature or curated exhibitions—impacts attitudes about the relative value of other cultural achievements—such as graffiti art, hip hop, and other emerging forms of South African youth culture; comprehend the relationship of the individual to society; understand people of different culture/s and relate them to their particular situation.

Assessment Methodology

Paper of 1,500+ words (30%)
You will demonstrate an in-depth understanding of a specific element of South African culture.  The paper should bridge material presented in course and your own academic fields of study.  You will be graded on how well you articulate an argument and document your findings and conclusions.  You will also be required to connect your research with one or more related areas of study, such as issues of gender or diversity.

Final exam (multiple-choice and essay), 500+ words (20% )
You will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of essential facts, to analyze, criticize, and synthesize material.

Midterm exam (multiple-choice and essay), 500+ words (20%)
You will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of essential facts, to analyze, criticize, and synthesize material.  You will be encouraged to meet me to discuss written feedback provided on effectiveness of your writing.

Paper outline, 500+ words (10%)
You will articulate a working hypothesis or critical question that will guide your work for the final paper and will be required to meet with me to discuss written feedback provided on its strengths and weaknesses.

Weekly quizzes, each 200+ words (10%)
Quizzes will test your understanding of how different concepts, icons, terms, and figures fit into the scope of South African culture.  You will be encouraged to meet with me to discuss written feedback provided on effectiveness of your writing. 

Oral presentation, 1,000+ spoken words (10%)
Oral presentations will supplement and/or test materials on gender and diversity previously presented and discussed in class.  You will be judged on your ability to articulate your arguments in structured oral form and to contextualize them within their broader historical and cultural contexts.



28 July:

  • "Chronology of Apartheid Legislation"

29 July:

  • “Apartheid and South African Society"
  • Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation

30 July:

  • Cry, the Beloved Country (--> 157)
  • Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation

31 July:

  • Cry, the Beloved Country (161-312), Quiz
  • Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation

4 August:

  • Maids and Madams
  • Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation

5 August:

6 August:

  • Boesman and Lena
  • Quiz

7 August:

  • In the Fog of the Season's End

11 August:

12 August:

  • "Black Souls in White Skins?"
  • "We Blacks"
  • "Some African Cultural Concepts"
  • The Definition of Black Consciousness"
  • White Racism and Black Consciousness"
  • Presentation (Karen K.)

13 August:

  • "Fear--an Important Determinant in South African Politics"
  • "Let's Talk About Bantustans"
  • "On Death"
  • Presentation (Amber B.)
  • Presentation (Bryan W.)
  • Presentation (Adrian H.)

14 August:

  • Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony

18 August:

  • The Madonna of Excelsior (--> 125)
  • Presentation (Paulina M.)
  • Presentation (Jeffrey P.)
  • Presentation (Kathryn M.)
  • Paper Outline Due

19 August:

  • Quiz
  • Presentation (Sara E.)
  • Presentation (Sarah-Kate L.)
  • Presentation (Victoria V.)
  • Presentation (Courtney K.)

20 August:

  • The Madonna of Excelsior (126-258)
  • Presentation (Alessandro O-H.)
  • Presentation (Kristin K.)
  • Presentation (Tamara W.)
  • Presentation (Kaley P.)

21 August:

  • "Red Shoes and Grey Shoes"
  • " ' Subversive' Literature"
  • "Totsiens"
  • "Prologue: Full Circle"
  • "Birthmarks"
  • "Epilogue: the Here and Now"
  • "destination"
  • "Cultural Interaction"
  • "Vulture Culture"
  • Presentation (Joseph M.)
  • Presentation (Tracy M.)
  • Presentation (Danielle G.)
  • Presentation (Erin P.)

25 August:

  • You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town (--> 81)
  • Quiz
  • Presentation (Jillian I.)
  • Presentation (Fabian L.)
  • Presentation (Gianni D.)

26 August:

  • You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town (83-182)
  • Presentation (Gianni D.)
  • Presentation (Robert H.)
  • Guest Speakers from South Africa
  • Paper Due

27 August:

  • Umgidi (Shadow Dancing)
  • Presentation (Morgan J.)
  • Presentation (Michael B.)

28 August: Final Examination (essay)



































Addional Links of Potential Interest

ANC Authors

Apartheid Museum

Dialects of South Africa

District Six Museum

Institute of Justice and Reconciliation

Mandela: His Political Past and Future

Mandela: An Audio History

Political Parties

PW Botha's Death

South African Broadcasting Corporation

South African Government Information

South African History Online

South African Media

South Africa's Rocky Road to Democracy

South African Tourism

Timeline: South Africa

Truth Commission Report: At a Glance

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report


Youth Radio: The Lingering Legacy of Apartheid


Required Texts

Biko, Steve.  I Write What I Like

Fugard, Athol.  Blood Knot and Other Plays

La Guma, Alex.  In the Fog of the Seasons' End

Mda, Zakes.  The Madonna of Excelsior

Paton, Alan.  Cry, the Beloved Country

Wicomb, Zoë. You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town