The Long Awaited End to Apartheid
June 5th, 2015
Tragedy and oppression have dominated much of history. It has led to the suffering of many people, and has seen the domination of one group of people over another. These tragic times are often remembered as the darkest in history because they not only saw humanity at its lowest moral point, but they prevented us from flourishing and progressing as nations and a global community. Just over two decades ago, the social situation in South Africa known as Apartheid was one of the greatest social tyrannies in history. It saw the entire division of a nation long after racial segregation had been abolished ...view middle of the document...
In his address to parliament on that day, de Klerk states, “Our country and all its people have been embroiled in conflict, tension and violent struggle for decades. It is time for us to break out of the cycle of violence and break through to peace and reconciliation. The silent majority is yearning for this. The youth deserve it” (Hartley). His act of publicly recognizing the injustices that exist in South Africa and ending the apartheid regime sparked a series of reforms and changes that ultimately formed a changed South African constitution and brought about greater social integration. In addition to formally ending apartheid, on that same day in February of 1990, F.W. de Klerk also removed a ban from the African National Congress Party. In the same address to parliament, De Klerk officially announced that, “The prohibition of the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the South African Communist Party and a number of subsidiary organisations is being rescinded” (Hartley). The unbanning of the ANC and related organizations allowed for the organization to resurface from its underground activities, and publicly create awareness to the issues. The removal of prohibition on the ANC also allowed it to become a contributor in transforming
South Africa, as many ANC leaders joined F.W. de Klerk in negotiating new laws and constitutional reforms. Furthermore, February 2nd, 1990 marked one of the most significant days in South African history. This day not only saw the official end of the apartheid system and the reinstating of the ANC,
but it also saw the formal decision to release all prisoners arrested during the treason trials of 1960s. Included in this group was Nelson Mandela. In De Klerk’s address to parliament on that day, he states, “I wish to put it plainly that the Government has taken a firm decision to release Mr. Mandela unconditionally. I am serious about bringing this matter to finality without delay” (Hartley). F.W. de Klerk’s decision to release all prisoners, including the renowned Nelson Mandela paved way for Mandela’s active participation in the reform process, and gave the suffering general population hope for a new South Africa. The role of F.W. de Klerk in the end of Apartheid often goes unknotted. He was a sound and subtle hero that allowed transformation to take place in South Africa. Without his dedication to justice and equality, South Africans would not have seen the change they yearned for years to come. His efforts did not go completely unnoticed, as he was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993.
Secondly, although vital, F.W. de Klerk’s efforts and decisions were not solely based on his mentality and dedication to justice. External factors contributed to his decision-making process, atop which stands the fall of communism. The fall of communism gave De Klerk justification for his actions, forced the ANC to cooperate with the government and pressured the government to end...