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The Emphasis to the History of the South African Liberation Struggle in the Nation’s Universities


This article analyses the emphasis given to the teaching of the South African liberation struggle history at the country’s universities. Although this history has been analyzed in books, chapters, journal articles, conference papers, theses,and dissertations by South African scholars working in various disciplines, it is generally underrepresented in the curricula of the country’s universities. This absence stems, at least in part, from the racial segregation that divided South African universities until the end of Apartheid in 1994. Today, the overwhelming majority of lecturers devote, on average, six or fewer of their annual class sessions to the subject, when most university modules run from seven to fourteen weeks. Despite the limited time given to topics on South African liberation struggle history, a majority of academics surveyed in history and political science departments believe that their institution’s undergraduate curriculum deals sufficiently with the history. Thus, aside from some notable exceptions, South African departments of history and political science have failed to integrate this eld within the broader study of national history. As a result, most university-educated South Africans lack post-secondary formal study on the history of the liberation struggle, a reality that affects the development of research and scholarship on this topic.

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