This course will use documentary film to help understand the remarkable political transformation of South Africa in the 20th century.
When the first Europeans settled in South Africa in 1652 they laid the basis for a racial oligarchy which only ended in 1994 with the
election of Nelson Mandela as President of a "New" South Africa. Heretofore South Africa had been ruled by whites for the benefit of
whites with a system of racial domination called apartheid (from 1948) and which kept the white minority in power with a combination
of economic dependency, political exploitation, psychological manipulation and violent repression. The inherent inhumanity of apartheid
created an international outcry and spawned a global human rights movement which, along with internal political action by the black
majority, helped move South Africa toward a non-racial government. Essential to that movement were images of life inside the apartheid
system which were seen via a set of documentary films. The earlier documentary films we will see both not only showed the truth of
what happened on the ground but also became artifacts of the struggle itself. It is for this reason that we will use documentaries to tell the
story of South Africa's transition from apartheid to freedom. The latter films show how much needs to be done before the promise of
equality in South Africa is realized.