Thursday, February 02, 2006

The end of apartheid in South Africa

It was 16 years ago that in a televised speech at the opening of Parliament in Cape Town, President FW de Klerk announced restrictions would be lifted on the ANC, the smaller Pan Africanist Congress and the South African Communist Party.

In that same day he also made his first public commitment to release jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela, which would happen 9 days after.

Many observers were surprised by the scope of the reforms - which included a return to press freedom and suspension of the death penalty - signaling a partial end to the 25-year-old state of emergency.

These events allowed active opposition to apartheid for the first time in 40 years of National Party rule.


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