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The Collapse of Apartheid and the Dawn of
Democracy in South Africa, 1993

by John C. Eby and Fred Morton

From systemic injustice to fair vision?

This game situates students in the Multiparty Negotiating Process taking place at the World Trade Center in Kempton Park in 1993. South Africa is facing tremendous social anxiety and violence. The object of the talks, and of the game, is to reach consensus for a constitution that will guide a post-apartheid South Africa. The country has immense racial diversity--white, black, Colored, Indian. For the negotiations, however, race turns out to be less critical than cultural, economic, and political diversity. Students are challenged to understand a complex landscape and to navigate a surprising web of alliances.

The game focuses on the problem of transitioning a society conditioned to profound inequalities and harsh political repression into a more democratic, egalitarian system. Students will ponder carefully the meaning of democracy as a concept and may find that justice and equality are not always comfortable partners with liberty. While for the majority of South Africans, universal suffrage was a symbol of new democratic beginnings, it seemed to threaten the lives, families, and livelihoods of minorities and parties outside the African National Congress coalition. These deep tensions in the nature of democracy pose important questions about the character of justice and the best mechanisms for reaching national decisions.



Conflict and War Studies; Cultural and Social History; Economics and Economic History; Political Science and Government; Religion; World History

20th Century; Late Modern History

In a Few Words
Justice, Peace-building, Human Rights


Themes and Issues  

Justice; Constitutionalism; Privilege; Reform

Player Interactions 
Factional, Collaborative, Coalition-Building

Sample Class Titles
Democracy and Global Diversity; History of South Africa; African History

Published Level 5 game (what's that mean?)

Notable Roles

Ahmed Khan (ANC), Rebecca Bhekizizwe (IFP), Mary Tanner (SACP)

Rolling Dice, Formal Podium Rule

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
The structure is clear and simple, but chaos and tension (from news reports) is important to early phases of the game. The greatest challenge is the intellectual challenge of thinking empathetically about how to problem solve.

Primary Source Highlights

UN Declaration on Human Rights, South African Freedom Charter, South African Kairos Document

Using the Game

Class Size and Scalability 
This game is recommended for classes with 11-27 students. 

Class Time  
For this game, 3 to 6 setup sessions and 5 to 6 game sessions are recommended.

Possible Reacting Game Pairings
This game can be used on its own, or with other games. These pairings are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive or prescriptive. The Collapse of Apartheid may pair well with:

You can adjust the assignments based on the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing. Not all roles are required to give formal speeches.


Confirmed instructors who are not yet members can access basic instructor materials. Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.


Students need a Gamebook, which includes directions, resources, and historical content. The Collapse of Apartheid Gamebook is published by Reacting Consortium Press. 

PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-4696-3316-9

EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-4696-3317-6
Available wherever books are sold.

Role Sheets and Add'l Materials

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives. 

.zip file of .docx files.

.zip file of .pub, .docx, and .pptx files.

Instructor's Manual

The Instructor's Manual includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.  

Updated January 2019 .docx file.

Additional Resources 

Resources for Introduction and/or Debrief

YouTube video: ITV News - SA AWB Storm Government Building (1993)


John C. Eby

John C. Eby is Professor of History at Loras College and longtime member of the Reacting community, serving on the Reacting Consortium Board for several years and the Reacting Editorial Board since its foundation.

Fred Morton

Fred Morton is Emeritus Professor of South African History from both Loras College and the University of Botswana. He is retired and living in Botswana.


"The South Africa game has a completely different dynamic, which is somewhat counter to the flow of most RTTP games, but totally in character with what 'really happened'. Students really have to ask themselves what it meant to win. In the South African case, a resounding victory as a party meant that the country lost. When my students write their final paper they have to respond to what was produced by their efforts."


Members can contact game authors directly

We invite instructors join our Facebook Faculty Lounge, where you'll find a wonderful community eager to help and answer questions. We also encourage you to submit your question for the forthcoming FAQ, and to check out our upcoming events


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