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Why South Africa gave up the bomb
Date: 25 November 2015
Time: 10h30 - 13h00
Venue: Conference room, ISS Pretoria, Block C, Brooklyn Court, map

South Africa’s nuclear weapons programme remained a mystery for many years. Finally, in 1993, former president FW de Klerk announced that the country had secretly built and destroyed six-and-a-half nuclear bombs.

This event launches The Bomb: South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Programme by Nic von Wielligh and Lydia von Wielligh-Steyn.

From 1975, von Wielligh helped produce nuclear weapons material, dismantle the nuclear weapons and provide evidence of South Africa’s credentials to the international community.

The author will be joined by a panel of well-known experts on South Africa’s nuclear weapons programme. They will provide an insider’s perspective into why South Africa developed a limited nuclear weapons deterrence and then voluntarily dismantled the programme. Lessons learnt for current and future disarmament and non-proliferation needs will be discussed.

Chair: Noel Stott, Senior Research Fellow, ISS


  • Dr Nic von Wielligh, co-author of The Bomb: South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Programme
  • Tom Wheeler, former South African Foreign Service officer
  • Anna-Mart van Wyk, Head of the School of Social Science and Associate Professor of History and International Studies, Monash University, SA

Vote of thanks: Lydia von Wielligh-Steyn, co-author of The Bomb: South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Programme

This event is made possible with funding from the Royal Norwegian Government. The ISS is also grateful for support from the following members of the ISS Partnership Forum: governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
Conference room
ISS Pretoria
Block C
Brooklyn Court
Noel Stott
Phone: +27 12 346 9500
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