Unit Five: Country Perspectives
Module Twenty Nine: South Africa
This module provides an introduction to the Republic of South Africa, an important country on the continent of Africa because of its political, social, and economic influence. Although the country still faces challenges such as continuing racism, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and poverty, many countries in Africa (even throughout the world) look to South Africa for leadership and as an example of successful conflict resolution. South Africa experienced a remarkable, peaceful transfer of power in 1994 when all citizens could participate in fully democratic elections. This came after a long struggle against an oppressive white government. Since then, the government and the dominant political party have worked to build a “Rainbow Nation,” a nation where people divided in the past by their race can live and work together. These issues and the history of South Africa are explored in the module.
Activity One introduces South Africa through an overview of its geography. Activity Two addresses South Africa’s history. This activity is designed to be a resource of basic knowledge of South Africa’s history as well as a lesson plan. Therefore, teachers are free to use the material as best suits their needs. A teacher may use the activity materials for one in-class presentation, a number of sessions focused on different periods of history, and/or assign the entire text as supplemental reading. Activity Three and Four focus in more detail on two aspects of building a “Rainbow Nation.” Activity Three looks at the renaming of places in South Africa, a logistical aspect of overcoming physical segregation with municipal restructuring, and a political issue regarding historical memory and the legacies of colonialism and apartheid. Activity Four looks at South African sport, an important part of South African culture that can help us understand both the country’s past and present.
The learning activities are designed to be used sequentially; however, each may also be engaged on its own. Each activity contains suggested classroom and individual learning exercises and may take three to four 50 minute class periods to present.
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