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Unit information: The Politics of Post Apartheid South Africa in 2021/22

Unit name The Politics of Post Apartheid South Africa
Unit code POLI31381
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Flint
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit addresses political developments in South Africa following the collapse of Apartheid. It offers an overview of the Apartheid regime before assessing the circumstances that led to 'majority rule' in 1994. Having secured a peaceful transfer of power, the new government was faced with rectifying the inequities of Apartheid. The unit will offer an insight into the ideological struggles that beset Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) as the party attempted to implement promises of wealth redistribution, job creation and reconciliation between former warring factions. The ideological construct of the Rainbow nation will be interrogated. The ANC's period in office will be evaluated critically. A variety of cases will be examined to assess the political efficacy of the ANC. These cases will include the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the leadership of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki's policy on AIDS, policy towards Zimbabwe, the controversial leadership of Jacob Zuma, and Cyril Ramaphosa's ascent to the Presidency.


  • To examine the shift to democratic rule;
  • To understand the challenges posed to the newly elected ANC government in 1994;
  • To analyse the ANC's development from a liberation movement to a party of government both ideologically and administratively that balances the interests of the Tripartheid Alliance (Communist Party, Labour Unions and the ANC itself);
  • To develop a critical awareness of the Post-Apartheid government's successes and failures.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the unit the student will have developed the following:

  1. an understanding of the making of Post-Apartheid South Africa.
  2. an ability to engage in scholarly seminar discussion on related topics.
  3. an ability to deliver a scholarly seminar presentation on an aspect of South African politics.
  4. an ability to write in a scholarly way about South African politics.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information


Essay 1: 2,000 words (25%)

Essay 2: 3,000 words (75%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI31381).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.