Foreign Policy Blogs

New Movie on RFK in South Africa

I have written before about Robert Kennedy’s trip to South Africa in 1966 (that post is here).   A movie has just been made about that trip and the connections between the anti-apartheid and American civil rights movements.   “RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope”  is directed by Tami Gold and Larry Shore and their website says the following about the movie:

RFK IN THE LAND OF APARTHEID… follows Senator Kennedy to the site of his famous “Ripple of Hope” speech at the University of Cape Town and his encounter with Afrikaans students at Stellenbosch, the pro-Apartheid university. A high point of the film is Kennedy’s meeting with one of the unknown giants of African history – the banned President of the African National Congress, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Chief Albert Lutuli – living under house arrest in a remote rural area. The film travels with Robert Kennedy to Soweto, South Africa’s largest black township, where he meets thousands of people and gives voice to Chief Lutuli’s silenced call for a free South Africa. We witness Kennedy publicly challenging the dominant Cold War ideology that anti-Communism, espoused by repressive regimes like that in South Africa, should be the only factor determining American foreign policy.

The website also has excellent background information (speeches, maps, documents and educational resources) here and a trailer.  It is very difficult to find much of the original footage from Kennedy’s trip and that alone makes this film worthwhile – but there is  much more here to recommend it to students, professors and anyone interested in this understudied piece of late 20th century history.

Last month the film was screened at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston and John Bohrer has a nice review in Huffington Post.




James Ketterer

James Ketterer is Dean of International Studies at Bard College and Director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs program. He previously served as Egypt Country Director for AMIDEAST, based in Cairo and before that as Vice Chancellor for Policy & Planning and Deputy Provost at the State University of New York (SUNY). In 2007-2008 he served on the staff of the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education. He previously served as Director of the SUNY Center for International Development.

Ketterer has extensive experience in technical assistance for democratization projects, international education, legislative development, elections, and policy analysis – with a focus on Africa and the Middle East. He has won and overseen projects funded by USAID, the Department for International Development (UK), the World Bank and the US State Department. He served on the National Security Council staff at the White House, as a policy analyst at the New York State Senate, a project officer with the Center for Legislative Development at the University at Albany, and as an international election specialist for the United Nations, the African-American Institute, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He is currently a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Association and has also held teaching positions in international politics at the New School for Social Research, Bard College, State University of New York at New Paltz, the University at Albany, Russell Sage College, and the College of Saint Rose.

Ketterer has lectured and written extensively on various issues for publications including the Washington Post, Middle East Report, the Washington Times, the Albany Times Union, and the Journal of Legislative Studies. He was a Boren National Security Educational Program Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and in Morocco, an International Graduate Rotary Scholar at the Bourguiba School of Languages in Tunisia, and studied Arabic at the King Fahd Advanced School of Translation in Morocco. He received his education at Johns Hopkins University, New York University and Fordham University.

Areas of focus: Public Diplomacy; Middle East; Africa; US Foreign Policy

Contributor to: Global Engagement