Nandini Maharaj is teaching live on Unacademy Plus
APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA END OF APARTHEID (1) BY NANDINI MAHARAJ
THE END OF APARTHEID The system of apartheid continued without any concessions being made to black people, until 1980. The new prime minister, P. W. Botha (elected 1979), decided that he must reform apartheid, dropping some of the most unpopular aspects in an attempt to preserve white control. What caused this change? Criticism from abroad (from the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity) gradually gathered momentum External pressures became much greater in 1975 when the while- ruled Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique achieved independence after a long struggle.
The African takeover of Zimbabwe (1980) removed the last of the white-ruled states which had been sympathetic to the South African government and apartheid. Now South Africa was surrounded by hostile black states, and many Africans in these new states had sworn never to rest until their fellow- Africans in South Africa had been liberated. There were economic problems - South Africa was hit by recession in the late 1970s, and many white people were worse off. . Whites began to emigrate in large numbers, but the black population was increasing. In 1980 whites made up only 16 per cent of the population, whereas between the two world wars they had formed 21 per cent.
The African homelands were a failure: they were poverty-stricken, their rulers were corrupt and no foreign government recognized them as genuinely independent states. The USA, which was treating its own black people better during the 1970s, began to criticize the South African government's racist policy. In a speech in September 1979 which astonished many of his Nationalist supporters, the newly elected Prime Minister Botha said: "A revolution in South Africa is no longer just a remote possibility. Either we adapt or we perish. White domination and legally enforced apartheid are a recipe for permanent conflict." . He went on to suggest that the black homelands must be made viable and that unnecessary discrimination must be abolished.
Gradually he introduced some important changes which he hoped would be enough to silence the critics both inside and outside South Africa
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