About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

O'Malley - "The Heart of Hope - South Africa's Transition from Apartheid to Democracy". - Contents



O'Malley Interviews 1985-2005

An extensive collection of Padraig O'Malley's interviews conducted between 1985 and 2005 with many key personalities, who influenced South Africa's political history. The collection presents a broad range of perspectives on events in South Africa during and after the Apartheid period. There are also summaries of historical events by year as well as descriptions of the historical background to place events in context.

Padraig O'Malley is John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation, MCCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts and Visiting Professor of Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape.

Padraig O'Malley

Some background on Padraig O'Malley including some of his writings on South Africa, why he came here and why he came back. With acknowledements to sources, sponsors and colleagues.

Pre-Transition (1902-1989)

Chronologies of events, demographic and economy related data, key historical documents, charters and treaties, racial legislation, sanctions, the structure and mechanics of the apartheid state, information about the struggle including mass action, armed struggle and a collection of essays from some of the most well-known Robben Island political prisoners.

Transition (1990-1994)

The crucial days of transition leading to democracy and the first free and fair democratic elections in 1994. This includes chronologies of key events, the creation of the Constitution, the CODESA negotiations, and some of the major external events, which threatened the negotiating process, including the Boipatong massacre, the Bisho massacre and the collapse of Bophututswana.

Post-Transition (1994-1999)

The early days of democracy after the 1994 elections. Chronologies, demography and economy, surveys by SA Institute of Race Relations, and extracts from the Truth and Reconcilation commission including transcripts of key amnesty hearings, eye witness accounts of events, submissions by political parties and the reports by the commission itself.

Transformation (1999-)

The Mandela presidency ends and Thabo Mbeki takes the helm.  Economic policy stresses fiscal prudence, getting the "fundamentals" right. AGSiSA replaces GEAR as the engine for growth and development; Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) begins to reshape the economic landscape and financial markets. South Africa starts to come of age. Much of the material that pertains to this section has been placed in the Maharaj component as it pertains to Shades of Difference: Mac Maharaj and the Struggle for South Africa.

General Information

Information about political parties, organizations and liberation movements, yearly surveys by the SA Institute of Race Relations, a catalogue of violence organized by region, biographies of people interviewed, further reading references and links to related websites.

Mac Maharaj

This is the official web site for O'Malley's Shades of Difference: MacMaharaj and the Struggle for South Africa, published by Penguin books in April/May 2007.  It chronicles the life and times of Mac Maharaj, a powerhouse in the ANC and SACP for almost four decades. It includes extensive interviews with Maharaj between 1993 and 2006, his family and colleagues, and hitherto unavailavle documents to throw new light on the decades long struggle against apartheid, the ongoing struggle to build a democratic South Africa, the in latter years the bitter "wars" within the ANC and between the ANC and its Alliance partners, COSATU and the SACP. The site complements and contains all source material for Shades of Difference.

How to use the site

A quick guide on how to use the different features on the website.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.