People in Johannesburg, South Africa. Editorial credit: Nataly Reinch /

South Africa

South Africa is a constitutional democracy. Since the end of apartheid in 1994, it has been regarded globally as a proponent of human rights and a leader on the African continent. However, reports of corruption among government officials often emerge, and in recent years, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been accused of undermining state institutions to protect corrupt officials and preserve its power as its support base has begun to wane. Gender-based violence is a severe challenge.

Freedom on the Net 2023

Freedom on the Net — South Africa Country Report

South Africa is rated Free in Freedom on the Net, Freedom House's comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe. 

Iranian people in Izmir protest the death of Mahsa Amini by the morality police in Iran.

Freedom in the World — South Africa Country Report

South Africa is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2023, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.

Our Work in South Africa

Freedom House’s Promoting Civic Education and Participation in South Africa program seeks to strengthen the ability of civil society and community-based organizations to conduct civic education activities in their communities and to support their efforts to strengthen citizen participation in political processes. The program aims to facilitate engagement between citizens and their local and national representatives, increasing the use of tools that improve citizens’ ability to hold government officials accountable.

Civic Education and Participation in South Africa

Civic education in southern africa program

Civic Education and Participation in South Africa, funded by the Human Rights Support Mechanism, is a four-year program led by Freedom House that seeks to ensure that South African citizens have the knowledge of their constitutional rights, tools, and platforms to engage meaningfully in the political process. The program’s goal is to strengthen the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) to more effectively conduct civic education activities in their communities. The program mentors and supports those CSOs and CBOs to engage citizens in the political process, facilitate touch-points with their local and national representatives, and introduce tools that citizens can use to hold the government accountable.

Building our Community for All: Study Circle Handbook

Civic Education South Africa Study Circle Handbook

This study circle handbook, titled “Here we are – building community for all” introduces readers to the Constitution of South Africa and the Bill of Rights. It contains information about the workings of the South African government, teaches basic skills, and presents inspiring examples of how citizens can build “people power” and help strengthen their democracy. Any small group of people who would like to be more informed and empowered can use this handbook as a self-study course. Groups using the handbook will be able to participate more actively in building and strengthening their communities. The handbook has been prepared for the HSRM Civic Education and Participation Program. While the methodology is transferable, the content is specific to South Africa.


To learn more about our work in the region, visit our Sub-Saharan Africa programs page.