HIST 3435: History of South Africa from 1910: Anti-Racism, Youth Politics, Pandemics & Gender (Based Violence)

3 CreditsGlobal PerspectivesHistorical Perspectives

We are all living in extraordinary times. But what does that mean? In South Africa, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures implemented to control it causing massive social upheaval and personal distress. It has forced the people in the country to confront issues that life prior to the pandemic had made easy to turn away from. Misogyny, gender based violence and sexual violence – a long-standing emergency in the south of Africa – have been forced into our vision once again. It was not the pandemic that created this violence. Nor was it the first time people had been outraged by a lack of action to address it. In the years approaching 2020, calls, protests and demonstrations were increasingly demanding the culture of impunity in gender based violence be ended; sometime with violent outcomes against the protestors themselves. Over those same years, nationwide protests have rocked South Africa’s university campuses. The student movements known as #RhodesMustFall, #FeesMustFall and #RUReferenceList highlight the contrasts and disappointments of the recent past in South Africa, confront the legacy of racism and misogyny in its institutions and knowledge systems, and resonate with a history of anti-racism and struggle that now, in turn, similarly fuel the on-going Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements worldwide.

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