Teaching Guides

Strangers In Their Own Country: A Curriculum Guide on South Africa

Teaching Guide. By Bill Bigelow. 1985.
Lessons on apartheid in South Africa and the global anti-apartheid movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century
Themes: Art & Music, World History/Global Studies

Download PDF of book.

Strangers in Their Own Country, made available for download on the African Activist Archive website, presents the lives and struggles of the people of South Africa with stories, poems, role plays, news articles and historical readings. This is the first and still one of the best collections of readings and lessons for students on the history of apartheid.


  • Preface
  • Perspectives of Teaching South Africa
  • Lesson 1: South African m & m Simulation
  • Lesson 2: Facts on South Africa
  • Lesson 3: Film: Last Grave at Dimbaza
  • Lesson 4: The “Homelands”: Point/Counterpoint
  • Lesson 5: Laws of South Africa
  • Lesson 6: The Pass Laws: And a Threefold Cord
  • Lesson 7: South African Story Writing
  • Lesson 8: Film: Afrikaner Experience
  • Lesson 9: Film: Generations of Resistance
  • Lesson 10: Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia Trial Speech to the Court
  • Lesson 11: Black Unions Struggle for Justice
  • Lesson 12: South Africa in the Region
  • Lesson 13: Learning to Resist: Namibia
  • Lesson 14: Debate: Should U.S. Corporations Invest in South Africa?
  • Lesson 15: Letters on South Africa
  • Lesson 16: Final Project
  • Student Handouts

ISBN: 0865430101 | Africa World Press

Classroom Story

I used Strangers in their Own Country to talk about South African apartheid. I used it in connection with Facing History and Ourselves, about justice and reconciliation, and identity.  I would connect the content to current issues. It helped my students understand the topic through different themes of identity, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

—Tamaria Crider
High Social Studies Teacher, Chicago, Illinois

More Online Resources

African Activist Archive. In addition to the lessons above, the website provides extensive multimedia historical materials and interviews with activists in the U.S. movement in solidarity with struggles of African peoples against apartheid, colonialism, and injustice.
South African History Online: toward a people’s history. SAHO’s mission is “to break the silence of our past and to create the most comprehensive online encyclopedia of South African history and culture. SAHO has committed itself to involve heritage and academic institutions as well as ordinary South Africans in rewriting our history and in that way contributing to reconciliation, the building of a common humanity and a non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic society.”
banner3 Africa Access provides an online database with critical reviews of children’s books to help teachers, librarians, and parents select titles that do not reinforce stereotypes about Africa.