Constitutions in transition
Constitutions in transition

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Constitutions in transition

2.2 The social and political context

In this section, it will become clear that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is aimed at a variety of historical social and political problems, and also that it is a product of what could be described as a revolution (but is probably best described as a revelation).

Activity 3 Historical, social and political problems in South Africa

Timing: You should allow yourself 15 minutes to do this activity.

View the interactive map below and click on South Africa. Read the overview of South Africa’s history pre-1948. Then select each of the buttons underneath the map of South Africa to learn about the social and political milestones in apartheid.

To access the map, click on it or press the ‘View’ button located underneath it to the right. To return to the main course from within the map page, scroll down and click on the back arrow and section title. It is recommended that you open the map in a new window or tab.


You may have noticed a couple of things from the interactive map. The social and political restrictions on non-citizens were very severe, and the associated violence was horrifying. This snapshot of the apartheid regime demonstrates how the law can be used to dehumanise and depoliticise groups of people within a country. You may also have noticed the gap in the timeline between 1989 and 1997. The reason for this will be made clear to you in the next activity.


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