South Africa and the End of Apartheid | Wilson Center

South Africa and the End of Apartheid

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Upon his release from prison, Nelson Mandela led the crowd in a rousing chant of the old resistance phrase, "Come Back Africa." Now, twenty years later, we may begin to ask what kind of Africa is coming back. The question can be addressed by looking beyond the struggle of the African National Congress to focus on ordinary people's mobilizations in the past. A history of generational conflict, chiefship, and trans-ethnic solidarity continues to be felt in the present.

Paul S. Landau is a historian of southern African culture and politics with his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He is currently an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland. Previously, Landau taught at Yale University and the University of New Hampshire. Landau has written extensively on medical practice, on imagery and evangelism, on narration and religious experience, and on the history of photography in Africa. Landau's first book, The Realm of the Word: Language, Gender and Christianity in a Southern African Kingdom, was short-listed for the Herskovits prize for best work in African studies in 1995. He is the co-editor and co-author of Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa, a collection of essays about visual representations between Africans and Europeans, and is the author of the last chapter of the recent Cambridge History of South Africa, Vol. 1. Most recently, Landau is the author of Popular Politics in the History of South Africa, 1400–1948, also with Cambridge University Press. Currently, Landau is beginning a work about the turn to violence in the 1960s in the history of the struggle against Apartheid.


  • Paul S. Landau

    Associate professor of history at the University of Maryland
  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center