Liberation Struggles in Southern Africa - HI833

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
7 30 (15)







The overthrow of white settler minority rule and apartheid by the peoples of South Africa and Zimbabwe marked a key period in the history of the twentieth century. This module traces the trajectory of these linked struggles both by examining contemporary written and visual sources and by engaging with current debates. Themes to be discussed include the dynamics of anti-colonial nationalism, the tactic and strategy of armed insurrection, and the ambiguities of independence.

The convenor will be primarily responsible for the teaching of this module; specific seminars, however, will also be taught by one or more experts drawn from the members of staff of the School of History. The seminar leader will chair each session and facilitate dialogue between students. Each week students will be exposed to a new case-study, its agreed historical facts, and its differing interpretations, all of which will enable students to gain a comparative grasp of the similarities and differences between conflicts. Each seminar will include an assessed presentation by one or two students on a particular question or problem related to a respective case-study.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar a week.

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by 100% coursework.

Effective learning will be tested through an assessed seminar presentation the production of two essays. The presentations and essays reveal a student's ability to marshal different sources of material, integrate them into sustained, overarching, sophisticated interpretations and communicate them in clear diction and prose.

Students will be expected to make regular contributions and to provide one formal presentation worth 20% of the final mark. This component relates to 11.1-3 and 12.3 and 12.5. Oral presentations demand that a student reveal the same qualities of source analysis and the ability to deploy them in a fluent verbal argument, which is often accompanied by suitable audio/visual material.
Essays: Two essays of 3000 words. Each of these essays will demand close engagement with both primary and secondary sources and will be worth 40% of the final mark. This component relates to 11.1-3 and 12.1-2 and 12.1-5.

Indicative reading

D. Welsh, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid (Johannesburg, 2009)
B. Raftopoulos and A. Mlambo (eds), Becoming Zimbabwe (Harare, 2009).
Alexander, P. Workers, war and the origins of Apartheid: labour and politics in South Africa, 1939-48 (Oxford, 2000).
G. Hill, The Battle for Zimbabwe: The Final Countdown (Cape Town, 2003)
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (Johannesburg, 1995)
T. Lodge, Sharpeville: An apartheid Massacre and its Consequences (London, 2011)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes:

As a consequence of taking this module students will have gained:

1. An enhanced understanding of the dynamics of anti-colonialism in a global context as well as specify its regional circumstances.
2. The ability to debate an exceptionally fierce historiography.
3. A sophisticated understanding of the historical underpinnings of the tensions existing in governing African liberation movements today.

The intended generic learning outcomes:

As a consequence of taking this module all students will have:

1. Developed their mental flexibility.
2. Improved their ability to sustain concentration and aim.
3. Gained the ability to construct coherent written and oral arguments.
4. Gained the ability to research different source types.
5. Gained the ability to produce a variety of robust outputs.

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