Project Coast: eugenics in apartheid South Africa

Endeavour. 2008 Mar;32(1):5-9. doi: 10.1016/j.endeavour.2008.01.005.


It is a decade since the exposure of Project Coast, apartheid South Africa's covert chemical and biological warfare program. In that time, attention has been focused on several aspects of the program, particularly the production of narcotics and poisons for use against anti-apartheid activists and the proliferation of both chemical and biological weapons. The eugenic dimension of Project Coast has, by contrast, received scant attention. It is time to revisit the testimony that brought the suggestion of eugenic motives to light, reflect on some of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's findings and search for lessons that can be taken from this troubled chapter in South Africa's history.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Bioterrorism / history*
  • Bioterrorism / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Chemical Terrorism / history*
  • Chemical Terrorism / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Eugenics / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Human Rights / history*
  • Human Rights / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Race Relations
  • Social Responsibility
  • South Africa