Skip to main content

Unit information: The Politics of Post Apartheid South Africa in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
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 and the controversial leadership of current ANC President Jacob Zuma.


  • 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

A 1hr lecture and 2 hour seminar

Assessment Information


Essay (25%, 2,000) and 2 hour unseen exam (75%).

Reading and References

  • Bhorat, H. (2006) Poverty and Policy in Post-Apartheid South Africa, HSRC: Cape Town.
  • Clark, N. (2004) The Rise and Fall of Apartheid, Longman: London.
  • Feinstein, A. (2009) After the Party: Corruption and the ANC, Verso: London.
  • Wilson, R. (2008) The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
  • Worden, N. (2007) The Making of Modern South Africa, Blackwell: Oxford.