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The Fight to End Apartheid

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Civics +2 Age Level High School (16 to 18 years old)

This is a topical collection of resources related to the fight to end apartheid. Teachers and students can use this collection to explore strategies used to fight against apartheid as well as famous leaders in the fight. Strategies include economic sanctions, boycotts, and divestment, raising awareness through artists and musicians, nonviolent protest, armed resistance, and external political pressures on the South African government. This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative. Think of it as a starting point for further inquiry!

Possible student activities include:

-researching one strategy of resistance and/or one well-known leader in depth.

-drawing comparisons between political organizations and movements like the ANC, PAC, Black Consciousness Movement, and United Democratic Front.

-creating a timeline of resistance to apartheid.

-debating the use of armed resistance and "sabotage."

-interviewing adults who may remember the end of apartheid.

-drawing comparisons between the civil rights movement in the United States and the anti-apartheid movement.

-choose 1-3 events and make a case for them as turning points in the fight against apartheid. What makes these events so significant?

tags: apartheid, South Africa, Mandela, Tutu, Huddleston, Soweto, townships, Sharpeville, Defiance Campaign, Biko

Pinback button protesting apartheid

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Nelson Mandela

National Portrait Gallery

Father Huddleston With Children

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives

Canada Lee

National Portrait Gallery

Keith Haring

National Portrait Gallery

Alan Paton Reading

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives

PP 12-13

National Museum of African Art


National Museum of African American History and Culture

Polaroid Big Swinger 3000 Camera

National Museum of American History

End Apartheid

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Pinback button protesting apartheid and economic investment in South Africa

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Placard reading "Sanction South Africa Now!"

National Museum of African American History and Culture


Smithsonian American Art Museum

Pinback button promoting ANC's Solidarity with South African Women

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Silence at Sharpeville

Smithsonian American Art Museum