The 13 Best Documentaries About South Africa

Jul 14, 2023 | Best Of, History

South Africa has a unique and captivating history that is full of struggles and triumphs. It was once a country where poverty was rampant, but today it’s become a destination for many people from all over the world who are looking to start anew. Despite this progress, South Africa is still facing numerous challenges, particularly with its education system. To gain more insight into South Africa’s past and present, watching documentaries about the country can be an invaluable experience. Through these films we can learn about the culture and customs of the nation as well as get an understanding of what needs to be done in order to improve its future prospects.


1. Coronation Park: South Africa’s White Slum

Reggie Yates travels to Coronation Park in South Africa, a squatter camp with an alarming ethnic divide. In this documentary, he explores the shocking reality of racial discrimination that is taking place in one of the biggest white slums in the country. As he meets and speaks to those living there, Reggie investigates how such bias can be overcome and what it will take for everyone within the community to come together as one. Join him on his journey of discovery as he uncovers the hidden truths behind Coronation Park’s walls.


2. No-Go Zones: World’s Toughest Places | Ghost Town, South Africa

Have you ever wondered what life is like in the most dangerous places on earth? No-Go Zones takes viewers to some of the toughest and scariest destinations around. Our first stop: Kuruman, South Africa – a ghost town with an alarming crime rate that has forced its citizens away. Join us as we uncover the hidden stories behind this forgotten place and explore why it’s become one of the world’s no-go zones.


3. How Mandela Changed South Africa

This documentary is an in-depth look at the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, one of the most iconic figures in South African history. It shows his struggles on the campaign trail, as well as his emotional highs and lows during this time. We get a unique glimpse into his life through never before seen footage and interviews with those closest to him. Get a first hand view of how he changed South Africa forever with this moving film.


4. South Africa: F.W. de Klerk and the end of Apartheid

Frederik Willem de Klerk, the former president of South Africa who passed away this week at the age of 85, was responsible for ending Apartheid in his country. De Klerk and Nelson Mandela were awarded a Nobel Prize later that year for their efforts to lead South Africa to freedom by repealing its last laws enforcing racial segregation. This documentary takes an in-depth look into F.W de Klerk’s life and how he changed history by bringing about the end of apartheid in 1991.


5. Apartheid in South Africa

In this documentary, we take a look back at the history of apartheid in South Africa. From 1948 to 1994, the National Party government enforced racial segregation through legislation. We explore how white supremacy and Afrikaner minority rule were maintained during this time period and discuss the success of ending apartheid today. This is an important part of history that should be remembered and discussed – watch our documentary to learn more!


6. South Africa History Documentary: 1652-1902

This documentary takes a comprehensive look at South African history from 1652 to 1902. It looks at the major events and people that shaped this country, including Harold Arthur Pringle’s contribution during apartheid and the Battle of Spion Kop in which 10 000 lives were lost. The story of how Gandhi’s passive resistance movement began with seven bombs per minute landing on top of a mountain is told here as well. This video provides an insightful journey into South Africa’s past!


7. South Africa: On the edge of darkness

South Africa is facing a crisis that has left many of its citizens in the dark. With an energy system on the brink of collapse, power outages have become a daily occurrence. In this documentary we explore how South Africans are dealing with these difficult times and what can be done to prevent further blackouts. We’ll take you on a journey from darkness into light as we uncover stories of resilience and ingenuity in response to this ongoing issue.


8. Inside South Africa’s Biggest White Slum

South Africa is a country of stark contrasts. While some people live in luxury and abundance, others are living in abject poverty. Coronation Park, located just outside of Johannesburg, is home to one such community: roughly 300 poor white South Africans making their lives in what has become known as the biggest white slum in the country. Take a journey inside this unique place and learn more about those who call it home.


9. Innocence for Sale: Kids on South Africa’s Streets

Innocence for Sale: Kids on South Africa’s Streets explores the heartbreaking reality of young children in South Africa whose childhoods are being spent working the streets. We speak to girls as young as twelve, and hear their stories about how they ended up in these desperate situations. This documentary is an eye-opening look into a world that many people never get to see, and it will leave you feeling deeply moved. Join us for this powerful journey into street life in South Africa.



Cape Town is a stunningly beautiful place, but what’s it like to live there? In this documentary we explore the city and discover its hidden depths. From the people who call it home to the disparities between rich and poor, we’ll uncover Cape Town’s secrets and show you what lies behind its beauty. Join us as we take an in-depth look at one of South Africa’s most iconic cities.


11. South Africa’s Descent into Chaos

The former South African President, Jacob Zuma, was recently imprisoned by his one-time ally and successor. This event has sparked a series of violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal that have led to the death of many people. In this documentary we explore how South Africa is descending into chaos and what can be done to prevent it from becoming worse. We will look at the causes behind the unrest as well as hear stories from those on both sides of the conflict to gain a better understanding of why this situation has spiralled out of control. Join us as we dig deeper into South Africa’s descent into chaos!


12. Why South Africa is the most unequal country on Earth and how to fix it

South Africa is a country of stark contrasts. Nearly three decades after the end of apartheid’s white minority rule, it remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. With unemployment, poverty and inequality on the rise, something has gone wrong. In this video we explore why South Africa is so unequal and what can be done to fix it. We also look at how people are counting their losses after recent unrest not seen since apartheid ended, as well as discuss whether or not a ticking time bomb about to explode? Watch now to find out more!


13. South Africa: Country of Contrasts – Extreme Inequality, Townships and White Slums

South Africa is one of the most developed countries in Africa, yet also has some of the highest levels of inequality and HIV prevalence. Join me on my trip to RSA as I explore unique contrasts between extreme poverty and vibrant culture. From visiting Johannesburg’s notorious Ponte City and white slums, to going to Cape Good Hope for coffee and fur seal tricks – this documentary will give you an inside look at South African townships! Come along with me as I share interesting facts about this beautiful country.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B