Intro | Service | Activist | Advocacy | Books | Essays | Quotes | Events | Internships | Opinion-Makers | History
South Africa Divestment Movement
"Internationally, South Africa became isolated. Numerous conferences were held and the United Nations passed resolutions condemning South Africa, including the World Conference Against Racism in 1978 and 1983. An immense divestment movement started, pressuring investors to refuse to invest in South African companies or companies that did business with South Africa. South African sports teams were barred from participation in international events, and South African culture and tourism were boycotted.
These international movements, combined with internal troubles, persuaded the South African government that its hard-line policies were untenable, and in 1984 some reforms were introduced. Many of the apartheid laws were repealed, and a new constitution was introduced which gave limited representation to certain non-whites, although not to the black majority. The violence continued throughout the 1980s.
The most violent time of the 1980s were 1985-1988, when the P.W. Botha government embarked on a savage campaign to eliminate opposition. For three years police and soldiers patrolled South African towns in armed vehicles, destroying black squatter camps and detaining, abusing and killing thousands of blacks and coloureds. Rigid censorship laws tried to conceal the events by banning media and newspaper coverage.
In 1989, F. W. de Klerk succeeded P. W. Botha as president. On 2 February 1990, at the opening of Parliament, he declared that apartheid had failed and that the bans on political parties, including the ANC, were to be lifted. Nelson Mandela was released from prison. De Klerk went on to abolish all the remaining apartheid laws. A period of political instability ensued. More South Africans died from political violence from 1990 to 1994 than in the preceding 42 years. During this period (1990 - 1994) many whites were killed by the ANC and there was intensive violent unrest.
On March 10, 1994, Nelson Mandela was sworn in as president of South Africa before a euphoric crowd. Among his first actions were rewriting the constitution and setting up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate abuses from the apartheid era. In the preceding all-race elections, Mandela's ANC won a landslide victory, effectively terminating the apartheid era."