The End of White Majority Rule in South Africa Coursework

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South Africa Coursework – Assignment One        

South Africa

The End of White Majority Rule in South Africa

‘Nelson Mandela was the main reason why South Africa was able to make a peaceful change from Apartheid to majority rule’ Explain how far you agree with this statement.

        Apartheid was a system set up by the Afrikaner government, the National Party, in 1948. Apartheid was a system of racial segregation, which involved separating people into racial groups, and treating them according to that. There were many laws imposed under the heading of ‘Apartheid’, ranging from the Mixed Marriages Act (1949) which stopped people of different races marrying to the Separate Amenities Act (1953) which designated all public areas and facilities for use either by ‘Europeans’ or ’Non-Europeans’. It was a way for the white people of the country to control the lives of all the black people, with the whites benefiting off it.

        Nelson Mandela was a key figure in the ending of Apartheid. He was the leader of the African National Congress (the ANC). He had been imprisoned and the ANC had been banned by Verwoerd in 1960. His imprisonment saw him become an international symbol of human rights. When he was in prison, he became a leader of political prisoners. He fought for prisoner rights while he was inside, keeping up constant campaigns for prison improvements. He also encouraged prisoners to study and organized political discussions.

        The ANC was unbanned on the 2nd February, 1990 and Nelson Mandela was released from prison on the 11th of February, 1990. Many people came to watch his release in person, and many journalists also attended so the whole world could see it. After being released, he made a long speech. He didn’t sound bitter but instead talked about the people of South Africa –both white and black- working together to sort the country out. He made clear that he thought that no one race should take control but rather there should be a multi racial government, for the good of the whole of South Africa, saying “We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa. The freedom movement is a political home for you, too”.He talked about peace, and encouraged people to help end the system without committing acts of violence against others.  

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        De Klerk was also a major part of bringing about an end to Apartheid. When he made his first speech in February 1990, many assumed he would follow the same lines as the people before him and not really make any changes. However, in his speech he basically said that he was going to put a stop to Apartheid. He talked about how he was unbanning some of the banned black groups, releasing Mandela and other political prisoners and working towards equal rights for all South Africans. It was unexpected, although there could have been many reasons for the change ...

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