Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Jared Poley - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Mohammed Hassen Ali


This thesis looks at the actions of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in South Africa during both the anti-apartheid movement and the post-apartheid era. The processes which led to those actions, both corporations’ removal of their presence in South Africa, the effects this had on South Africa, and their reemergence in a post-apartheid state are examined. It will be shown that, despite the public relations campaigns of both Coke and Pepsi, far more importance was placed on their products’ profitability than the well-being of the black Africans who produced, delivered, or consumed the soft drinks. However, both companies found their actions during the 1980s to affect their success after the fall of apartheid. Coke never truly left the country, leading to overwhelming dominance through the rest of the 20th century. Pepsi adhered to different social imperatives and suffered exceptionally low market shares as a result.

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