History and heritage

Saluting Sharpeville's heroes, South Africa's human rights

On 21 March 1960, 69 people were killed and hundreds wounded during a peaceful protest against the pass laws. It was a watershed moment, in hindsight marking the beginning of the end for the apartheid government.

Saluting Sharpeville's heroes, South Africa's human rights

Constitution Hill: window on a brutal past

Sitting astride a ridge on the northern edge of Johannesburg's inner city, Constitution Hill is a symbol of how far South Africa has come. Once a notorious prison filled with anti-apartheid activists, it is now the seat of the highest court in the land, where freedom, democracy and justice are defended.


Robert Sobukwe: South Africa's non-racial Africanist

Academic, lawyer, founder of the Pan-Africanist Congress and one of the first to propose a "non-racial" rather than "multi-racial" future, Robert Sobukwe, one of the South Africa's greatest but often forgotten heroes, died this week 36 years ago.


Remembering Egerton on Heritage Day

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will unveil an upgraded Egerton Bus Boycott Massacre Memorial Site in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday as part of South Africa's national Heritage Day celebrations.


A short history of South Africa

Take a brief tour through the rich, dramatic history of South Africa: from the earliest inhabitants through colonisation to the discovery of diamonds and gold and the war that followed; from the formation and evolution of black resistance, through three decades of crisis to the eventual death of apartheid.

More stories ...

Select from:

SA History Online

New ways of teaching history, new insight into South Africa's past. >
Go to South African History Online

National flag

Whatever shape our flag takes, it's instantly recognised by South Africans everywhere. >
South Africa's 
national flag

National anthem

Uniting two anthems, five languages and over 49-million people. >

National symbols

What's that image on your R5 coin? What does !ke e: /xarra //ke mean? (Whose language is that?) ...
South Africa's national symbols

Nelson Mandela

Find out more about one of the great moral and political leaders of our time. >
Go to the 
Nelson Mandela page
South Africa's 
World Heritage sites

World heritage

Eight World Heritage sites: places of "outstanding value to humanity". >

Cultural 
experiences in South Africa

Heritage adventures

TFrom galleries to rock art centres, museums to cultural villages - discover our rich heritage for yourself. >

72 days that shaped South Africa

Just how "miraculous" was our transition to democracy? How close did we really come to civil war? Check out some press clippings of the 72 days leading up to SA's first democratic elections - and see how heavily the odds were stacked against "the rainbow nation". >