Nelson Mandela is one of the very few post-colonial African leaders who have voluntarily relinquished power. That in itself puts him in a class of his own. But even more significant, very few people have moved from "prison to president." This course will examine the life, work and
legacy of this remarkable man, Nelson Mandela, the freedom fighter, the prisoner, and the president.
First, we will look at the institutionalization of apartheid and the formation of the African National Congress as a liberation movement and the fulcrum of resistance to the policy of apartheid in South Africa. Next, we will see how the first two generations of African National Congress leaders and activists such as Albert and Walter Sisulu galvanized South Africans to resist apartheid. Attention will be paid not only to Mandela, but also Steve Biko, Chris Hani etc. Emphasis will
be put on the birth of umkonto we sizwe and the radical phase of the struggle against apartheid, culminating in the Soweto massacre of school children. This massacre rallied world opinion behind the anti-apartheid movement
Finally, we will discuss Nelson Mandela's release from prison - the forces that cumulatively actualized the release - and his work as president of South Africa, putting emphasis on his policy of reconciliation in the "new" South Africa. The course will end with the passing of the torch of political leadership in South Africa to Thabo Mbeki and the "Soweto generation"
In all of these segments, we will pay particular attention to the contribution of the people of South Africa, more especially, women.
Course Requirements and Grading
Attendance and Class participation 10%
2 book reports 40%
Mid-point exam 20%
Final Exam 30%
Mark Mathabane, Kaffir Boy. The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in South Africa. New York & London: W.W. Norton & Co., 1986.
Nelson Mandela, No Easy Walk to Freedom. Oxford: Heinemann, 1989.
Mary Benson, Nelson Mandela. The Man and the Movement. New York & London: W.W. Norton & Co., 1986.
John A. Williams, From the South African Past. Narratives, Documents, and Debates. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
Steve Biko, I Write What I Like