Home Institution

Washington University in St. Louis

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

South Africa: Social and Political Transformation


This study examines the extent to which the principles and values of human dignity and non-discrimination laid out in the South African Bill of Rights resonate with South African university students. The objective is to understand how university students value or do not value these constitutional principles and how they see these principles being implemented in South African society. I examine both students’ personal views and how they see human rights, human dignity and non-discrimination playing out on campus and their communities. I conducted seven one-on-one semi-structured interviews with university students at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. Findings indicate that the majority of participants were concerned for the state of human rights and human dignity in South Africa and blamed the government and older generations for failing to adequately protect citizens. The study’s one conservative participant demonstrated a divide in political opinion and countered the notion of universities as liberal spaces.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Constitutional Law | Higher Education | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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