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The New South Africa
Mandela's Release Negotiations Agreement
Elections New Government Continuity&Change
Development Conclusion Bibliography & Contacts
Mandela's Release

President FW de Klerk took the world by surprise in February 1990 when he announced the unbanning of the ANC and other parties, and the release of political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela.

His purpose was to stop violent insurrection and begin a process to negotiate a 'a new and just constitution' for South Africa. It was the end of apartheid.

After 27 years in jail, Mandela walked free on the 11th February and that evening spoke to a huge crowd that had gathered in the centre of Cape Town.


FW de Klerk, who proclaimed Mandela's freedom
In spite of promising first meetings in Cape Town it took two years for formal negotiations to begin.

The ANC and other parties had to re-establish themselves in the country. Meanwhile political violence in the townships soared, and accusations were made that government agents were trying to destroy black unity.

The National Peace Accord of September 1991 helped to restore trust, and negotiations began in December, but soon broke down again amid fresh violence and accusations.


Negotiations at Groote Schuur

Despite the public breakdown in negotiations, meetings continued in secret between ANC and government leaders.

The assassination of a well-known black youth leader, Chris Hani, brought the country to the brink of civil war. Suddenly there was quickening of pace and the two main parties pushed the process forward, setting a date for the election.

But as people across the country helped prepare for the vote, other forces threatened to sabotage the election and violent incidents continued.


F W de Klerk courts coloured voters

After nerve-racking brinkmanship, all major political parties took part in the election, 26 - 29 April, and contrary to many forecasts it was peaceful.

In spite of long queues there was celebration in the air, and the image of South Africans standing together to vote replaced the old images of division.

The ANC swept to power with a huge majority.


Desmond Tutu votes

The ANC made dramatic promises, raising high expectations.

A new and highly-acclaimed constitution was established and various new commissions, including the unique Truth and Reconciliation Commission to resolve the abuses of the past.

Poverty, however, continued and unemployment grew worse. Crime rose dramatically. With the appointment of blacks to senior positions there was hot debate about a decline in 'standards'.

Crime and affirmative action encouraged many whites to emigrate and significant foreign investment did not materialise. New challenges were replacing old.


Nelson Mandela in Parliament

Although there was no sudden or dramatic change in Cape Town, steadily the city became more racially integrated, first in government institutions and then the suburbs.

A sharp rise in crime was effectively fought by private-public partnerships that increased security, especially in the city centre.

Migration from the poor rural areas led to sprawling shanty areas, especially at Khayelitsha, and a massive increase in the city's black population. The council were hard-pressed to keep up with the provision of services, but were making good progress by the end of the decade.


The New South African Flag, Against Table Mountain

After the years of boycotts and bad press tourists began to return to Cape Town in 1995.

Tourism fuelled an unprecedented development of the city, led by the V&A Waterfront area. A theme park, casino and convention centre followed.

Numerous hotels opened and shopping centres expanded. More museums and cultural tours and events helped the city to celebrate its rich diversity.


The V&A Waterfront

Cape Town had opposed apartheid and 'evolved' without trauma into the new South Africa.

It retained a sense of stability and enjoyed unprecedented development, driven by tourism, boding well for the future.


Playing 'Firesticks' on Clifton Beach

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