South Africa lies at the southernmost tip of Africa, with a surface area of 1 219 090 square kilometres. The population is estimated to be about 49 million people, with just over two million more women than men (25 million and 23.4 million respectively) (The Presidency, 2008). As the first democratic elections were only held in 1994, South Africa is one of the youngest African states.

Dynamics in female migration have undergone profound shifts in the economic, social and cultural perspectives in South Africa and the region in the post-apartheid era. Not only from a Southern African perspective but also globally there has been a wave of women’s movements for better lives, and this has defied the status quo on gender norms and on social construction. Women in most societies have been seen as private, with men taking the roles of breadwinner and public actors, but women have been taking this space in the last decade. More women are delegating their “home” roles to men.
The recent unearthing of remains buried in the Avalon Cemetery has once again focussed attention on South Africa’s grim and violent past.  For many families whose loved ones went missing during the Apartheid era, the unearthing of such remains is a critical step towards ending their long search for answers.

The barren farm of Platfontein is home to thousands of San - former soldiers in the South African army - and their families, who have been abandoned by those they fought for and against.

San community fighting for survival

In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the point of view of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers.

Time, it appears, may both heal wounds and erase memory. An example is the argument made by Tony Leon, the former leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance, that despite the brutality of its system, the apartheid political elite practised greater internal accountability than we see today.

our hCard

Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
1 Hood Avenue/148 Jan Smuts; Rosebank, GP 2196; South Africa
E 28° 2.1600000000001" S -26° 8.7420000000001"
Telephone: +27 (0)11 587 5000
FAX: +27 (0)11 587 5099

Twitter Feed

Our newsletters

Sign up for our newsletter to receive stories, research, and news, delivered periodically to your inbox.