Before Apartheid | Facing History & Ourselves
Sol Plaatje was the co-founder of the African National Congress (ANC). As an activist and politician, he spent much of his life fighting for the enfranchisement and liberation of the South African people.

Before Apartheid

Understand the history of people living and settling in the South African region and explore how racial and ethnic identities created tension in the years leading to apartheid.


  • History
  • Social Studies




English — US



About this Chapter

This first chapter outlines South Africa’s early history, from native groups living in the region to Europeans settling and gradually exercising colonial control over African peoples. This period of colonization helped shape how these groups conceived of their identities as well as how they saw others.

  • How does history impact the way people see themselves and others?
  • How much do people control their own identities, and how much are their identities shaped by culture, society, and the political system?
  • How do our identities influence the choices that we make and the choices available to us?

This chapter is from the Before Apartheid section of Confronting Apartheid and includes:

  • 6 readings 
  • Connection Questions

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