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A comparative investigation into the representation of Russia in apartheid and post-apartheid history textbooks.

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South Africa’s relationship with Russia has been determined by the significant shifts in the political ideologies within South Africa. It is this changing relationship that will be examined in order to identify the representation of Russia within Apartheid and post-Apartheid era history textbooks and how the changing relationship affected the representation of Russia in each textbook of each era. This study, analysed three Apartheid era and three post-Apartheid era textbooks. My study seeks to understand the representation of Russia within era different textbooks which is underpinned by the interpretivist paradigm and is further supported by the method of qualitative content analysis. Various findings emerged from the comparative analysis of the sampled Apartheid era and post-Apartheid era textbooks. The three Apartheid era textbooks displayed a contrasting image which mirrored the different stages of Apartheid. Book A1 (1974) and Book A2 (1987) both represent Russia in a similar fashion as they perpetuate the same anti-Tsarist, anti-Communist and pro-West narrative throughout. Book A1 (1974) was written when South Africa was entrenched in Apartheid as well as anti-Communist motions (as was the rest of the world) and Book A2 (1987) was written during the death throes of Apartheid and petty Apartheid. Both books perpetuate the similar discourse perhaps as a way to perpetuate the ideals maintained by the Apartheid regime. In contrast, Book A3 (1989), which was written at the end of the Apartheid era as well as at the fall of the Berlin Wall which marked the end of European Communism, offers a less critical representation of Communist Russia perhaps, in order to accommodate the changing world and ideological perspectives. All three post-Apartheid era textbooks are written in an era where the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) share a strong bond and thus the perception of Communism has altered. All three post-Apartheid textbooks continue the perpetuation of the anti-Tsarist discourse but there was no anti-Communist discourse evident as well as a less significant pro-West discourse. Despite these differences, all six textbooks portrayed the identical main characters within the Russian chapter highlighting, to a certain extent, the continued Big Men discourse and the unchanging nature portrayed of Russian history within history textbooks.


Master of Education in Social Science Education. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2016.


History - Curricula., Education and State., Education - Politics and Government., Textbook Bias - South Africa., Theses - Education.