I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.
Racial Segregation in South Africa: Degrees and Kinds
Many South Africans took action against apartheid despite great risk to themselves and their families. Are there any causes or issues that are important enough to you today that would motivate you to speak out, even at personal risk? By the s, resistance to apartheid had reached its peak. Many feared that a civil war in South Africa was inevitable. In , F. He promptly began discussions to free Mandela and to legalize the ANC.
By February , both had been done. With Mandela free and with the ANC serving as the primary political party of the country's non-white majority, apartheid appeared to be on its last legs.
Nevertheless, as representatives of the ANC and the ruling National Party held often-contentious negotiations, government security forces collaborated with tribal nationalists to spread violence. Finally, the ANC and the National Party came to an agreement that a multiracial national election would be held. This victory represented the official end of apartheid and a moment of major triumph for black South Africans. For several years before the fall of apartheid, white South Africans had been dreading its end, fearing that it would be the beginning of a campaign of retaliatory genocide against whites.
In June , David Zucchino, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer , spoke with a white South African who expressed such concerns:.
Apartheid: The History of Apartheid: Race vs. Reason - South Africa from 1948 - 1994
Fuhri senses the walls of apartheid falling. Blacks are beginning to demand the white man's rights. He believes de Klerk is giving away too much too fast to the blacks. Violence and power is what they understand," Fuhri, 40, said one evening after his house had been locked up for the night, with his family tucked safely inside. The once docile blacks of the lowveld are starting to talk back to whites, he said. They are getting "cheeky" and stoning whites who drive too close to the black townships. Instead, under Mandela's leadership, the ANC led the country a path toward reconciliation. Rather than seeking revenge for decades of oppression, Mandela and his administration pursued a policy to smooth the transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy.
The push for national reconciliation was motivated partly by a desire to prevent any further racial violence and to keep South Africa's white population from fleeing the country in mass. Mandela made numerous high-profile visits to important figures in the apartheid regime, aiming to exemplify forgiveness. To this end, his government also established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In a discussion of the commission in the New York Times , U.
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District Court Judge Mark Wolf described its purpose and function:. The commission was established in , as a constitutional compromise to avert continued bloodshed. Many members of the African National Congress demanded Nuremberg-style trials of white officials, who were seeking a general amnesty before agreeing to relinquish power.
In principle, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission offered amnesty from prosecution only to individuals who candidly confessed their political crimes in public. Government reparations replaced victims' rights to bring civil suits, and those who did not receive amnesty were to be subject to prosecution.
The transition to democracy did not solve all of South Africa's problems. Today, many South Africans continue to face crime and poverty, and the freedom struggle did not achieve its goal of establishing economic justice. Nevertheless, Mandela will be remembered for his personal dedication to healing the nation's wounds after the downfall of a regime as brutal and entrenched as apartheid. Mandela's genius was his ability to forgive, and a charisma that let him convince his black countrymen to do likewise, and convinced his white countrymen that he meant what he said.
Not all South Africans believed him, but - at least in his lifetime - they accepted his approach. This combination - charisma and a strategic willingness to forgive one's ethnic oppressors - is so rarely found among leaders of other troubled countries as to be almost unique to Mandela. To grasp the full significance of this man you only need to look at states that desperately need a Mandela but aren't lucky enough to have one Mandela's policy of reconciliation quelled the most lurid fears of South African whites.
When the Philadelphia Inquirer revisited the Fuhri family in , their position had softened significantly—in no small part thanks to Nelson Mandela:. Like many Afrikaners, Fuhri stockpiled food and weapons before the elections, anticipating that blacks would come rushing over the prairie to take his house - and his daughter, too. But even after blacks won political control of South Africa - something unimaginable to many whites seven years ago - the wave of revenge never happened.
In , Fuhri called Mandela "Satan himself. While the struggle for justice continues for South Africans facing poverty and inequality, Mandela stands as an inspirational figure for people around the world—especially to opponents of racial discrimination. By the time apartheid was being formalized in South African law in , blacks in the southern United States had been living under a system of racial segregation for more than half a century.
This system, known as Jim Crow, was a set of laws and informal practices put in place in the late 19th century, following the abolition of slavery and the US government's effective abandonment of post-Civil War Reconstruction. Supporters of Jim Crow tried to justify it by arguing that although blacks and whites were separate, they were equal. But in reality, racial segregation meant vastly inferior conditions for blacks.
Apartheid and Jim Crow bore many similarities, but in other ways they were quite different. What were some of those similarities and differences? For this activity, assign students, in groups or individually, to visit the library or search the internet for information on the apartheid and Jim Crow systems. Then have students create a Venn diagram noting the similarities and differences between the two systems.
Ask students to present their findings to the class. Mark Engler. Current Issues. Nelson Mandela South Africa Apartheid.
Student Reading 1: Apartheid and Its Opponents Although Europeans first colonized what is now the country of South Africa in the middle of the 17th century, it was not until the election of the Afrikaner-led National Party that the system of apartheid—with which the nation of South Africa came to be so closely associated for the second half of the 20th century—was formally instated. How might they be answered? According to the reading, what were some of the defining features of the apartheid system?
How did young people influence the mounting struggle against apartheid in the s? What was the Defiance Campaign and what were its aims?
District Court Judge Mark Wolf described its purpose and function: The commission was established in , as a constitutional compromise to avert continued bloodshed. For Discussion: Do students have any questions about the reading? According to the reading, what were some of the fears of white South Africans upon the fall of apartheid? How did racism fuel these fears?
What was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
When Did Apartheid End and How?
One of the groups the Europeans sought to displace, the Xhosa of the Eastern Cape, put up successful resistance to the European invasion for a number of decades, but the Dutch-speaking colonists possessed better weaponry that they used to subdue the Xhosa and drive many of them off their land.
By the beginning of the eighteenth century, many of the original African inhabitants had been dispossessed of most of their land and were forced into positions of servitude as laborers on the farms of the European settlers. Exploitative economic practices enabled the Boers to dominate the region until they gradually lost power to a second group of colonists: the British. In , as part of a large conflict between Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and other European states, the British dispatched troops to the Cape, which its merchants trading with India had long relied on for supplies.
They captured Cape Town after six weeks of fighting. Barrow and others who followed were interested in possessing the Cape, and they made a moral justification for colonialism by arguing that British colonialism was more humane.