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Was The Leadership Of Nelson Mandela The Main Reason For The Ending Of Apartheid?

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Introduction

´╗┐Some people have the view that the leadership of Nelson Mandela was the main reason why apartheid ended in South Africa in the 1990?s How far do your sources support or contradict this interpretation? An interpretation is the view or views of an individual on a particular person, persons, event or series of events. The individual?s point of view can be influenced by a host of factors such as political beliefs and values, religion, nationality, economic status, social and personal experiences. An individual interpretation of a set of events can be influenced by the nature and range of evidence studied. In 1994 Nelson Mandela was elected as the first black president of South Africa, which now found itself as a fully democratic nation. The old political system of apartheid was ended due to his new presidency was now being changed. F.W De Klerk was the last president of the apartheid era and many argue that without De Klerks brave decisions white minority rule may never have been defeated. De Klerk was a significant figure as he ordered the release of Mandela from prison, and he was also the first to begin the dismantling of the old apartheid system by creating a power sharing government when he announced the ending of the 30 year ban on anti apartheid organisations such as the ANC. ...read more.

Middle

Source B11, however shows a view that dismisses Mandela of any significance towards the ending of apartheid, with the emphasis being towards the effects that international sanctions had on political change. Source B11 is again a contemporary source about the main effects recession had on South Africa, written by Tony Howarth a historian for a school textbook. The source highlights the fact that the recession put new stresses on the African population; however the relaxation of South Africa?s white-supremacist policies also occurred through this in an attempt relax international sanctions. The strikes showed black grievances and they began to assert this through the new student-based black consciousness movement. World criticism of the regime began, applying sanction pressures through the economy, which ultimately led to the recession in South Africa from the late1970s onwards. No obvious personal views are being portrayed within this source although as it is written for a school textbook, it shows clear evidence that the writer would likely reach objective, factual conclusions and would have lived through the apartheid years. Furthermore there is no mention of Nelson Mandela?s efforts through this period, so we cannot come to or input an objective on the writer?s interpretation on how much Mandela contributed to the ending of apartheid. ...read more.

Conclusion

The source clearly gives the view that sanctions and campaigners were the main reason as to why apartheid ended, rather than the work of Nelson Mandela. Overall, the eight sources, both supporting and contradicting the given interpretation that the leadership of Nelson Mandela was the main reason why apartheid ended in South Africa in the 1990s, are both fully justified and valid. Nelson Mandela was in many ways seen to be the catalyst towards this, however international sanctions, campaigning and the role played by F.W De Klerk, appear to have had a far more significant impact on South Africa during this time. The fact Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, meant he could not contribute to the protests, which shows these campaigns could clearly and directly continue without such his leadership skills. However, the actions of campaigners such as Mandela were crucial in gaining international attention and sympathy initially. International sanctions, both economic and sporting, threw South Africa into a recession that, combined with the role played by F.W De Klerk, ultimately forced the government of South Africa to relax its policies, leaving the pathway clear for Mandela to take the role of president. The role played by Mandela although significant into the ending of apartheid without contributions of F.W De Klerk, campaigners and the impact of international sanctions, Mandela would not have been released from prison, never mind elected president. ...read more.

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