Ripple of Hope

Use of “RFK in the Land of Apartheid...” in University Classes

[Download the PDF document version here: for universities.pdf]

This educational section of the website is for use in conjunction with the film in universities and colleges. It is useful for classes on South African history, African History, Post World-War 2 United States Foreign Policy, International Relations, Civil Rights and Human Rights, the 1960’s, and Global Studies.

The goal is to stimulate students to be interested in this important period in South African and American history- the 1960’s- and encourage efforts to understand the connections between the American Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Apartheid movement both within South Africa and internationally, and America’s special relationship with South Africa. It will hopefully also inform students on global issues such as America’s role in the world and its relationship with undemocratic societies.

In order to prepare for a class discussion, professors and students should:

1. Watch the film.
2. Read the BACKGROUND document in THE VISIT IN HISTORY section of the website.
3. Look through some of the MEDIA coverage of the visit.

Those that want to go into the subject in greater detail, or to use the additional available teaching materials, should look at the extensive DOCUMENTS and RESOURCES sections.

Questions for class discussion and written answers:

1. What were the similarities between the United States and South Africa in the 1960’s?

2. What are the differences between the United States and South Africa in the 1960’s?

3. What was America’s relationship with South Africa in 1966?

4. Who was Chief Albert Luthuli? What was Dr. Martin Luther King’s connection to him?

5. What was the significance of Senator Kennedy’s meeting with Chief Luthuli and his talking about the meeting during his visit Soweto?

6. What was the role of whites in South Africa in the Anti-Apartheid Movement? Give examples.

7. What impact did the visit possibly have on Afrikaners?

8. What was the significance of Robert Kennedy saying in his speech in Durban “Is all that we stand for anti-Communism?”

9. [For experts in US/SA relations]
Recordings of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech were smuggled into South Africa and listened to by a number of black and white opponents of Apartheid. The speech, and the American Civil Rights Movement in general, had an impact in South Africa. Your assignment:

It is the 1970’s in South Africa and you have been given the task of ‘rewriting’ Dr. King’s speech using only South African references i.e. Take all the American names and places mentioned in Dr. King’s speech and give them South African names and references. Your choices should be more than just names from a map - they should indicate an understanding of South African history, geography and politics. (You can find the text of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in the OTHERS’ page of the SPEECHES section.)

Some users might choose to skip these discussion questions and go directly to the crossword puzzle.

Any ideas and suggestions for other questions and projects for students are welcome.