South Africa: History in an Hour

History for busy people. Read a concise history of South Africa in just one hour.

South Africa is a nation that has been ravaged by oppression and racial inequality. After years of concentrated violence and apartheid, Nelson Mandela led the country to unite ‘for the freedom of us all’ as the country’s first black President.

SOUTH AFRICA: HISTORY IN AN HOUR by Anthony Holmes gives a lively account of the formation of modern South Africa, from the first contact with seventeenth-century European sailors, through the colonial era, the Boer Wars, apartheid and the establishment of a tolerant democracy in the late twentieth century. Here is a clear and fascinating overview of the emergence of the ‘Rainbow Nation’.

Love your history? Find out about the world with History in an Hour…


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Also available as audio download 


The Early History of South Africa

  • The Wars between the Xhosa and the White Settlers
  • The Great Trek
  • The Discovery of Diamonds
  • War between the Zulus and the White Colonists
  • The Gold Rush
  • The Second Boer War
  • The National Party of South Africa

The Struggle for Equality

  • The Coalition Pact and the United Party
  • The National Party’s Return to Power
  • The Concept of ‘Apartheid’
  • The Sharpeville Massacre
  • Imprisonment on Robben Island
  • The Assassination of HF Verwoerd
  • The Soweto Riots

The Struggle Escalates

  • Violence Increases
  • The First Cracks in the Apartheid Edifice
  • The Release of Nelson Mandela and the Un-banning of the ANC

Towards a Better Future for All

  • Negotiations on Transition
  • The Assassination of Chris Hani
  • The New Constitution
  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • The Rainbow Nation

Readers’ reviews:

“As a student of South African politics and married to a South African girl I found this book very concise and very accurate and a most helpful book for those wanting to learn quickly about recent history.”

“History in an Hour is excellent for historical content and I was delighted and amazed that all that information could be covered in such a short time, but it was. Excellent. Would recommend it to anyone who would like to know the history of South Africa and has not got the time or inclination to read through history books.”

“If you want to absorb the history of South Africa – this was a perfect synopsis. Readable and enjoyable!

“If you’re looking for a quick introduction to South Africa’s past them this is the place to start. Enough to give you a foundation from which to understand the nation as it is today.”

Top book for the cloud height overview: The History in an Hour series is such a great and simple idea you wonder why no-one thought of it before. The format is the same as the other books in the series with a sweeping overview of the main events in a time period that sweeps from WW2 through to present day.  After the main, very readable, narrative there are brief biographies of the main protagonists in the story. As ever a great starting point to understand a subject from which you can dive into other, far more detailed, books with an understanding of the grand sweep of history.”

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