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South Africa : Pre- and Post-Apartheid: Why did Apartheid end?

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In 1973, a ground-breaking film, Joe Bullet, was the first South African-produced film with a black action hero and an all-black cast. Benjamin Cowley, the CEO of Gravel Road Productions, described the film as "unique" because "at the height of apartheid, no one was producing movies with all-black cast members for black audiences". According to Tonie van der Merwe, the writer and producer of Joe Bullet, the apartheid censors banned the film after just two screenings. In a letter, the censors listed the reasons for their decision which included: the main character carrying a gun, driving a sports car, living in a white neighbourhood. "Stupid, stupid reasons," said van der Merwe. While Joe Bullet was a commercial failure, it demonstrated that there was a huge demand in South Africa for films like it; however, without the apartheid censors' approval, there was a good chance that they would be banned. So an agreement had to be reached with the apartheid government.

Source: The Listening Post, Al Jazeera, published 18 March 2020

South Africa: Confronting Apartheid eBook

This 4-chapter, open-source eBook, South Africa: Confronting Apartheid, developed by Facing History and Ourselves in partnership with the Boston University African Studies Center explores critical moments in South Africa’s history, including the period prior to European colonisation, the period of colonisation, the development of policies based on racial segregation, and the development of the apartheid state. It further discusses anti-apartheid movements and the institutions, policies, and principles put in place to facilitate the development of a non-racial democracy. Lastly, this resource includes both the growth of race rule and resistance to white rule.

Confronting Apartheid includes:

  • Themes of identity, membership, and belonging as explored through the stories of individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions
  • Exploration of the human behaviour throughout this turbulent history, including examples of conformity, obedience, and perpetration as well as resistance and the human consequences of violent victimization
  • Examples of civic engagement at the national and communal leadership levels
  • Examination of a nation’s work to redress and repair its violent past and its legacies in order to establish and nurture a democracy

Source: Facing History and Ourselvesaccessed 27 July 2020.


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