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How Important Was Nelson Mandela in Bringing About the Collapse of the Apartheid System in South Africa 1960-1994

  • Date Submitted: 11/20/2010 04:22 AM
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Nelson Mandela was undoubtedly an important figure in bringing about the collapse of the apartheid system in South Africa between 1960-1994. He encouraged the start of mass and widespread, often violent, action by the black South African community and it was largely down to him that, once released from jail, negotiations for a new Government succeeded. He was also undeniably a figurehead for the anti apartheid movement. He won the Nobel peace prize in 1993 for his contribution towards the end of Apartheid. He was also elected as the first black President of South Africa in 1994. However there are many other key factors and key figures that also contributed to its collapse. The part played by Black South African protestors and the outside world who brought heavy pressure to bear on the Nationalist Governments but not be underestimated. Ultimately it was this that forced FW De Klerk to take the brave decision to abandon Apartheid. Some credit must finally be given to FW De Klerk who started the negotiations to dismantle the system of Apartheid.

For both Mandela and the ANC, Sharpeville was a turning point in their fight against Apartheid. Sixty nine protestors were killed and over one hundred and eighty injured when the police opened fire, claiming that they were having stones thrown at them by the crowd. The crowd were all unarmed. After this massacre the ANC decided that they should treat violence with violence and that passive resistance was not working. They wanted to try and commit acts that would draw attention to their plight. This meant sabotage. However the ANC was banned soon after Sharpeville. So it was at this point that Mandela and the ANC formed ‘the Spear of People’, otherwise known as MK. It bombed targets such as pass offices, post offices and electricity pylons. Mandela left South Africa in early 1962 to try and arouse world wide support of the ANC. When he returned to South Africa he was constantly having to dodge the police and stay...


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