Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Education


South Africa's racially segregating apartheid government officially lasted for over forty years, from 1948 to 1994. Black South Africans were the victims of established oppression resulting in poverty, poor health care, and limited educational opportunities. Black South Africans with disabilities faced even greater exclusion from society due to their physical and cognitive challenges. Education for black students was neither compulsory nor free, and few black students with disabilities received services.

During the apartheid regime (1948-1994), disability issues were being address globally. The United Nations issued declarations, conventions, and a programme of action devoted to people with disabilities. In the early 1980's the South African government began making changes toward, an apparently, more inclusive society. While such changes could be attributed to international influences, it is the local political atmosphere which provides the catalyst. The study of international trends, South African policy and local political struggles during apartheid provides a glimpse of the complexities of the international and local influences on special needs education and disability rights.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.