Tracing the unbreakable thread: non-racialism in South Africa today

This project constitutes the first phase of a two-year initiative that SAHA, in collaboration with Julie Frederikse will conduct in 2015-2016, drawing on archival materials to prompt inter-generational dialogues about and educational engagements with the rich history of non-racialism in South Africa, and how this legacy may contribute to the building on a non-racial democracy in South Africa, as entrenched in the South African Constitution.

Julie Frederikse's three texts, The unbreakable thread: non-racialism in South Africa (1990), South Africa: a different kind of war (1986) and None but ourselves: masses vs media (1982), as well as the related research materials archived in SAHA Collection AL2460: The Julie Frederikse Collection, serve as a starting point for this project as they provide visually innovative and accessible ways to engage with the direct experiences of individuals fighting for democracy; provide diverse, thought-provoking and profoundly people-centric accounts of everyday experiences of the masses living through the often inter-connected history of liberation struggles in the region and give a comprehensive exploration of the issue of non-racialism.

Cover of the 1990 Ravan Press edition of "The Unbreakable Thread: Non-racialism in South Africa"Project Goals and Activities

  • To digitise the 3 publications written by Julie Frederikse and create an online repository on non-racialism, drawing on these publications and research materials;

  • To launch a 25th anniversary comemorative online edition of The unbreakable thread, with a dialogue forum to be held at Constitution Hill for Heritage Month 2015, at which participants will be invited to reflect on what non-racialism means in contemporary South Africa;

  • To use extracts from these books, along with audio and visual materials to vreate a multimedia educational feature to be published online and integrated into social media platforms to stimulate discussion and learning about what non-racialism means in the making of democracy today.



The first phase of this project is being funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

For more information about this project contact

See the online inventory of the Julie Frederikse Collection (AL2460)