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APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA END OF APARTHEID (3) BY NANDINI MAHARAJ
By the late 1980s international pressure on South Africa was having more effect, and internal attitudes had changed. In August 1986 the Commonwealth (except Britain) agreed ona strong package of sanctions (no further loans, no sales of oil, computer equipment or nuclear goods to South Africa, no cultural and scientific contacts) British prime minister Margaret Thatcher would commit Britain only to a voluntary ban on investment in South Africa. Her argument was that severe economic sanctions would worsen the plight of black Africans, who would be thrown out of their jobs. This caused the rest of the Commonwealth to feel bitter against Britain;
Rajiv Gandhi, the Indian prime minister, accused Mrs Thatcher of 'compromising on basic principles and values for economic ends' In September 1986 the USA joined the fray when Congress voted (over President Reagan's veto) to stop American loans to South Africa to cut air links and to ban imports of iron, steel, coal, textiles and uranium from South Africa
The black population was no longer just a mass of uneducated and unskilled labourers; there was a steadily growing number of well-educated, professional, middle class black people, some of them holding important positions, like Desmond Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and became Anglican archbishop of Cape Town in 1986. .The Dutch Reformed Church, which had once supported apartheid, now condemned it as incompatible with Christianity. A majority of white South Africans now recognized that it was difficult to defend the total exclusion of blacks from the country's political life. So although they were nervous about what might happen, they became resigned to the idea of black majority rule at some time in
the future. White moderate were therefore prepared to make the best of the situation and get the best deal possible.
F. W. de Klerk The new president. F. for caution, but privately he had decided that apartheid would have to go completely and he accepted that black majority rule must come eventually The problem was how to achieve it without further violence and possible civil war. The new president. F. W. de Klerk (elected 1989). had a reputation . With great courage and determination, and in the face of bitter opposition from right wing Afrikaner group, de Klerk gradually moved the country toward black majority rule. Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in jail (1990) and became leader of the ANC. which was made legal. Most of the remaining apartheid laws were dropped.
Namibia, the neighbouring territory ruled by South Africa since 1919, was given independence under a black government (1990) . Talks began in 1991 between the government and the ANC to work out a new constitution which would allow blacks full political rights. Meanwhile the ANC was doing its best to present itself as a moderate party which had no plans for wholesale nationalization, and to reassure whites that they would be safe and happy under black rule. . Nelson Mandela condemned violence and called for reconciliation between blacks and whites The negotiations were long and difficult; de Klerk had to face growing opposition from his own National Party and from various extreme, white racialist groups who claimed that he had betrayed them.
.The ANC was involved in a power struggle with another black party, the Natal-based Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party led by Chief Buthelezi.
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