Nelson Mandela died this Thursday at his house in South Africa. He was undoubtedly a great figure of the history of South Africa and that influenced a lot the lives of the Boer-Afrikaners.
The political, economic and social situation of South Africa in the 80’s decade wasn’t good. Tensions were rising with the increase of protests of black people and the increase of terrorist acts done by the ANC and other organizations. The unemployment was raising fast and the economy was slowing because of the international sanctions that almost every countries in the world put at South Africa Apartheid government. President PW Botha don’t give up more rights to the blacks and resigned in 1987 due to a stroke. He did an offer of peace to Nelson Mandela but the leader of the ANC refused because he had to resign to political activities. He was replaced by FW De Klerk a more liberal politician that released Nelson Mandela in 1990 after 27 years in jail as well to other political prisoners. He also legalized all the parties including of course, Mandela’s ANC. Still he was late in make reform and racial tensions increase even more with big confronts of blacks against whites and between blacks, specially the ANC (Xhosa) against the Inkatha Freedom Party (Zulu). Radical Boer-Afrikaner movements as the AWB also grow and promote a Volkstaat, just for Boer-Afrikaners, which increase even more the instability. Mandela during this time appealed to a peaceful transition to the end of Apartheid and to the creation of a society with equal rights to everyone, a Rainbow Nation in which people of different origins and cultures would live in freedom and harmony. A situation that is forgot is the fact of De Klerk and the National Party allowed the realization of a referendum to give equal rights to all races which mean the end of Apartheid. The results of the referendum were clearly favorable to the Yes that won by 68, 73% against 31, 27% for the No. Only in Pietersburg the No won, in every other regions the Yes was victorious.
Without the positive result of the referendum, we don’t know what could have happen to South Africa but was possible that end of in civil war and so the whites had a very important role in the way to the end of Apartheid and the renounce to the white rule in South Africa.
Both Mandela and De Klerk show their satisfaction by the result of the referendum and in 1994 were held the first general elections in South Africa in which Nelson Mandela won which 62% of the votes in front of the ex-president Frederik De Klerk with 20% and Mangosuthu Buthelezi of the Intakha Freedom Party with 10% of the votes. These elections were very important because for the first time all the adults in South Africa could vote for the election of the president and for the first time was elected a black president to lead South Africa.
Nelson Mandela had definitely merit in ending the Apartheid regime, despite some terrorist acts, and bring equal rights and freedom for all south africans. He also was a man with the capacity of forgetting the bad acts of others specially of the men who had humiliated him and other black activists. However the presidency of Nelson Mandela was not as good as his role as anti-Apartheid activist, as he failed to deliver employment, security and the end of the discrimination in South Africa. In the end Mandela failed is promise of turning South Africa into a rainbow nation.