Nelson Mandela and his New Nation From 1900 to 1901 the British Army conquered Dutch settlers known as Boers in the Boer War and South Africa became a of the whites in South Africa are Boers. In 1948 the National Party started apartheid, which meant only British colony. The Boers beca the main voting support for the dominant National Party; over 50% of the whites could vote, and that blacks had to live in segregated, poorer areas than whites, and had restricted movement and employment rights. In 1947 a political party was formed call the African National Congress, a black party dedicated to ending apartheid by peaceful means. 1 Soon after, Nelson Mandela joined the A.N.C. The A.N.C. wanted to end apartheid by civil disobedience, general strike, and public demonstrations. The Boerovernment banned the A.N.C., and in 1961 Mandela began advocating violence; in his mind he had no other choice.
He was imprisoned shortly after this, and in 1990, National Party president W. deKlerk bowed to international pressure against apartheid a released Mandela. In 1994 Mandela was elected president of South Africa in the first fully democratic election in South African history. 2 This may not be as happy a story as it seems. Mandela faces three major obstacles in his quest to create an egalitarian society. Mandela has achieved full enfranchisement, but he may find it more difficult to guarantee full civil rights across the bod.
In addition, Mandela will have great difficulty in achieving economic equality. It will be difficult for him to re-distribute wealth without compromising the rights of the richer white class. 3 He also faces long-term factors such as the time and mey needed to educate the poor so they can obtain the economic equality they need. 4 The issue of violence is another obstacle that Mandela will find difficult to overcome.
The radical element of the Boers may create an uprising if their privileged e conic and soci a positions are jeopardized. The Zulus, South Africa's largest ethnic group, led by Buthelezi, want political independence and are prepared to fight for their land. If full political democracy and economic equality fail, this could make th threat of violence much greater. 5 Ten months after its first multicultural elections, South Africa's transition to democracy marked the re-birth of a nation. The new coalition headed by President Mandela and dominated by his African National Congress has earned the respect of their pele because they are governing in a manner more respectful to the wishes of people of all races. Political violence has disappeared in most areas of the country.
The new system of government has the blacks excited and trying to participate as much as p sible by lining up to vote all over the country. Some blacks began lining up in the early hours of the morning and wouldn't leave till they got to try out their new freedoms to elect a government. 6 Mandela's management of the transition to multiracialemocracy has succeeded beyond all but the wildest expectations. This shift from tyranny to democracy is an act of enormous courage and monumental statesmanship, both by those gaining power (Mandela and the blacks) and by those who are giving it up (Deer and the whites). 7 Mandela is trying to change the political democracy of South Africa. He has succeed in granting the blacks universal enfranchisement and since his election other positive changes have been put into effect.
In South Africa there were mostly separate re schools. Recently, the integration of schools has commenced, going relatively smoothly. The government has opened all schools to pupils of all colors for the first-time. This will most importantly give the black children the education they were lang in the poorly funded colored schools.
The black people will now become better educated so that they can acquire the professions and wisdom that they are searching for. This will also end some of the racism at a young age because children will have integrate with each other on a day to day basis. 8 However, reality is the keyword. Many of the issues that were brushed aside for the sake of agreement to end apartheid are again rising to the surface. These issues include indemnity for political crimes; Mandela wants to prosecute the white securityorce who were so violent during apartheid. De Kl erk thinks they should be pardoned.
The drafting of a new permanent constitution is also a problem. Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party wants the Zulus to have their own government. He wants to participa in making a new constitution, as do the whites. They are all nervous that Mandela and the A.N.C. will write the constitution by themselves. 9 Barbara Armies, a right-wing journalist for Maclean's magazine is even more pessimistic. She sees the possiblity for, "tough times, civil war and ultimately the ruination of South Africa".
10 Mandela is having even more difficulty achieving economic equality. He has to balance black demands for better housing and higher incomes with the prudence required to make the anxious whites, who still control the levers of economic power, feel secur that the government will not take away their property and jobs. Blacks are all disappointed with the rate of change. 11 The government has begun programs to feed pregnant women and children and increase schooling for young black children, but, as Mande says, "the government is not a big bag full of money".
12 There are extremely limited resources to deal with the countries unmet needs. Most of the changes will come into action within the next couple of generations. In later generations the blacks wide more educated. The government has not yet delivered in bigger areas, such as jobs and housing because they don't have the funds to do it all at once. 13 The threat of violence however, will be Mandela's greatest obstacle. Many of the blacks are so used to fighting for their rights that it is almost an instinct.
The main job of the A.N.C. will be to create black unity. Some blacks, mainly the tribaladers in the homeland and colored labor party are prepared to back Mandela up, but Inkatha is determined to hold on to its homeland. The Zulus and the A.N.C. have been fighting for several years, which has caused the deaths of 2,500 people. Buthelezi, elder of the Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party, does a lot of threatening to other rulers. Usually fresh political violence is the result. Mr. Buthelezi's drive is to re-establish an autonomous kingdom within South Africa.
14 Mandela is pleading patience fro he country's black majority. He tells them once again that the government does not have enough money to deliver on all the promises it made. He is requesting that no one use violence as a means for communication. Most are not using violence, however, political violence continues in Inkatha. 15 Another form of potential violence comes from the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, led by Eugene Terre blanche. This small Neo-Nazi group would like to have a state with only Afrikaners.
They believe in apartheid and have different methods of assimilate the blacks, including sterilization. However, they are mostly talk and have to date not caused any serious problems. 16 The history of South Africa has been full of violent upheaval and has seen great social, political and economic change. Out of this great turmoil came leaders who brought great change to South African society. South Africa has gone from a segregatedlitically backward society to a modern nation-state in the first stage of democracy.
The current government faces many obstacles in improving South African civilization. the challenge is to balance what the government can do against the rising expectaons of the population. The danger is that the government will not be able to deliver the improvements (economic) fast enough for the rising expectations. Violence may reoccur if many perceive that the government cannot produce real economic improvement The threat of violence is very likely because of the violent tradition in South African history of the twentieth century. Extremists of all races have used violence to achieve their political goals. The current leadership (Mandela) may not last muchnger and the extremist forces may once again dominate South African society.
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Ransdell, Eric. "Free at Last". US News and World Report, 9 May 1994, 29.
Ransdell, Eric. "The Past is Present Still". US News and World Report, 27 February 1995, 62.
Ransdell, Eric. "Bullets Before Ballots". US News and World Report, 11 April 1994, 35.
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