Apartheid: Global Perspectives, 1946-1996
From the Archives of the Central Intelligence Agency

Quick Facts

  • A uniquely international survey of the effects of apartheid on South Africa and the world
  • A fully searchable digitized collection of primary source documents related to apartheid
  • A wealth of insight for numerous academic disciplines


Apartheid, the Afrikaans word for “apartness,” defined life in South Africa in the mid-20th century. As white colonists systematically stripped away the rights of Native Africans, the effects of their actions seeped through South Africa, reverberating throughout the continent and the world. Nowhere is the worldwide reaction to apartheid captured as thoroughly as in Apartheid: Global Perspectives, 1946-1996. This fully searchable digitized collection contains nearly 60,000 translated news broadcasts and publications, written by both the people who experienced apartheid and those around the world who watched, reacted to and analyzed it.

A uniquely comprehensive archive of views on apartheid
For decades, a U.S. government organization that became part of the CIA monitored, collected and translated into English media from around the world, including television and radio broadcasts, periodicals, newspapers, government documents and more. These stunning primary source documents shed new light on both the global response to apartheid and the effects of apartheid on the global community. When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in 1964, for example, racial tensions rose everywhere. Apartheid: Global Perspectives, 1946-1996, brings together a uniquely international survey of South Africa’s apartheid for the first time.

International views on institutionalized racial hierarchy
Although European colonization of South Africa began in the 17th century, the true effects of colonization didn’t become apparent until the 1940s, when Afrikaner nationalists rose to power, eventually taking over the government. The institutionalized racism perpetuated by politicians like Hendrik Verwoerd came to permeate every aspect of life in South Africa, from women's rights to politics, economics to the environment. The material in Apartheid: Global Perspectives, 1946-1996, traces the rise of apartheid, its effects on South Africa and the world, the defiance and uprisings that weakened it and its eventual collapse.

Applications for a range of disciplines
Students and scholars researching 20th-century history, international relations, political science, African studies, international law, African American studies, human rights and other topics will find a wealth of information to advance their work in Apartheid: Global Perspectives, 1946-1996. A mix of government-level analysis, eyewitness accounts and international reporting make this collection unmatched in its scope, providing new insight for a wide range of academic disciplines. In addition, the interface enables students and scholars to easily browse the collection by a broad range of topics, each providing highly relevant results for users at all levels.

20th-Century Global Perspectives
In addition to Apartheid: Global Perspectives, 1946-1996, closely related collections—also from the Archives of the Central Intelligence Agency—include The Cold War: Global Perspectives on East-West Tensions, 1945-1991; Immigrations, Migrations and Refugees: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996; American Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996; and Middle East and North Africa: Global Perspectives, 1958-1994.

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