Core Module 2009
KEYS TO CONTEMPORARY SOUTH AFRICA
The Core Module introduces students to the complexity of South African society, politics, and spatial and economic realities. Recent political change and earlier apartheid planning shaped society and the country profoundly. Thus, a contemporary understanding requires a study of the historical and social processes. Key issues include the history, outcomes and spatial manifestations of apartheid; the anti-apartheid struggle; and post-apartheid policies and realities.
The Seminars focus on:
The macro-context: six seminars that interpret the themes of the module in the national framework.
The micro-context: the final seminar is a fieldtrip around Grahamstown, where Rhodes University is situated, to illustrate the realities and effects, in the local area, of the policies and processes covered in the first six seminars.
1. Apartheid: Policies, Processes and Impact
[Dr Alan Kirkaldy]
To provide an overview of:
- evolving historical processes and associated discrimination and exploitation in South Africa
- the key racial laws and controls instituted primarily in the 19th and 20th centuries
- the spatial manifestation of racial planning and enforced inequality and their associated social and economic impacts.
- Early European settlement patterns and associated racial control measures.
- 19th Century Colonial and Republican policies.
- Racial Controls after 1910.
- Apartheid planning (1948-1991): Urban & Rural
- Case-study of the localised impacts of discriminatory policies
- The demise of apartheid.
2. Contemporary Politics – in the Wake of Apartheid
[Professor Michael Whisson]
To clarify the fundamental differences between the transfer of power which takes place as a result of elections in established democracies and that which takes place through an election which emancipates the vast majority of the population after centuries of their subordination.
This seminar will explore some of the challenges which faced the first post-apartheid government and how they were addressed:
- a huge foreign debt;
- a political leadership with much academic and revolutionary experience , but very little experience of running a government, together with a largely unsympathetic civil service;
- a security apparatus which had been responsible for the brutal oppression of opponents of the old regime, with responsibility for “law and order”;
- territorial, governmental, administrative, educational and social structures which were the practical manifestations of apartheid;
- almost millenarian expectations of the newly emancipated electorate, fuelled by the slogan, “A Better Life For All”; and
- a sense of destiny as the last African country to be liberated – and the most powerful economy on the continent.
3. South Africa’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic – the Current Situation
[Dr Kevin Kelly]
- provide an overview of the current status of South Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic and the country’s responses to it;
- provide an understanding of the key national and international issues shaping current prevention and impact mitigation efforts;
- provide an understanding of the challenges of responding to HIV/AIDS at the local level, using community systems and cultural resources;
- consider future scenarios related to the consequences of the epidemic and responses to it.
4. Resistance to Apartheid
[Prof. Paul Maylam]
- To understand the differing ideologies and strategies that characterised the anti-apartheid struggle over several decades
- To highlight both the major episodes (Sharpeville, the 1976 Soweto uprising, the 1984-86 township revolt) and the key personalities (Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko) in that struggle.
- To assess the extent to which the 1990s transition was brought about as a result of the struggle. Was it a case of revolution or reform?
- A brief history of black opposition from 1912 to 1960 - before the turn to armed struggle
- The sabotage campaign of the 1960s
- Ideologies and strategies of opposition and resistance - Africanism, black consciousness, charterism, communism, workerism
- Struggles of the 1970s and 1980s
- The end of apartheid
5. AIDS, Apartheid and the Aftermath: Historical Perspectives of HIV and AIDS in South Africa
[Ms Carla Tsampiras]
- To understand and historicise the factors considered to have fuelled the spread of HIV and AIDS in South Africa and the region.
- To locate the HIV and AIDS epidemics in South Africa’s epidemic history.
- To provide an historic and social context for aspects of the HIV and AIDS epidemics in South Africa including denialism; sex and sexuality; gender violence; race; research; and the political economy.
- Apartheid and health - was AIDS an ‘epidemic waiting to happen’?
- The ‘first’ AIDS deaths in SA and subsequent official responses
- Scientific racism and sexism and their impact on addressing HIV and AIDS
- Race, class, patriarchy, and heteronormativity in responding to HIV and AIDS
6. Contemporary Politics – Issues of Electoral Choice
[Professor Michael Whisson]
To explore the electoral process as it unfolded over the year prior to the general election and the complex of values which underpinned voting behaviour, and to encourage the students to examine comparable issues in their home countries.
The seminar will focus attention on the recent past, and in particular the electoral processes which led to the formation of the present government. Themes to be addressed will include:-
- The location of the major parties in South African culture – the bases of their bedrock support
- The role of ethnicity in party support
- The role of class and ideologically based structures in the political process
- Religious participation in political formations
- Forms of intimidation and violence in the political process
- “Service delivery” and “corruption”
FIELDTRIP - 25 June
The Local Context
[Professor Michael Whisson]
The historical, political and social processes examined in the seminars will be explored through a fieldtrip to areas surrounding Grahamstown where pre-apartheid, apartheid and post-apartheid processes as they occurred within a spatially constrained area may be studied first-hand.