How Far Has the Importance of Nelson Mandela in the Ending of Apartheid Been Exaggerated?

Topics: South Africa, Nelson Mandela, African National Congress Pages: 5 (1760 words) Published: March 24, 2013
How far has the importance of Nelson Mandela in the ending of apartheid been exaggerated? It can be argued that the importance of Nelson Mandela in the ending of apartheid has been greatly exaggerated. Apartheid ended due to a combination of long term and short term events. The ANC represented the main opposition of apartheid while protests and rebellions caught the attention of the world, international sanctions put pressure on the south African government and something had to be done before their economy completely fell apart. De Klerk shocked the country when he took the first step towards abolishing apartheid although, the spark of light and face of rebellion, Mandela, provided the inspiration to make the end of apartheid possible. Nelson Mandela’s contribution and dedication to South Africa’s struggle in achieving freedom and equal rights for every South African led to his popularity and respect in South Africa. In the 1950’s, Mandela began working on ending the apartheid. In 1964, he was arrested and imprisoned for trying to overthrow the government, but continued his fight even from his prison cell. Nelson Mandela presented the people of South Africa with a leader in their struggle, providing the inspiration needed for a drastic change. He became a symbol of hope and inspiration. He planted the idea in the people that there was something they could do about their situation. Nelson Mandela’s role in bringing Apartheid to an end was very important, however, there were many other factors that contributed to the ending of Apartheid. Firstly, the African National Congress, also known as the ANC, was a major factor in ending Apartheid. it was founded in response to the injustice against black south africans at the hand of the government then in power. By 1919 the anc was leading a campaign against passes that black people were forced to carry, but then the anc became dormant in the mid-1920s . at this time black people were also represented by the ICU and the previously white-only communist party, but neither played a major part in the ending of apartheid. in 1930s J.T Gumede (president of the ANC) was voted out of power and this led to the ANC becoming largely ineffectual and inactive. Although after being remodeled as a mass movement in the 1940s the ANC responded militarily to attacks on the rights of black South Africans, as well as calling for strikes, boycotts, and defiance. The ANC represented the main opposition to the government during apartheid and therefore they played a major role in resolving the conflict through participating in the peacemaking and peace-building processes. Infact by the late 1980s the ANC became the most popular political movement although it can be argued that it was a result on Mandela’s influence. Protests were extremely important in ending Apartheid and believed to be more influential than Mandela. Protests against pass laws were quite common but the Sharpville massacre is what caught the attention of the world. The Sharpville massacre was one of the worst civilian massacres is south African history. It was reported in the Chronicle of the 20th century that “56 Africans died and 162 were injured when police opened fire in the black township of Sharpville.” This cannot be thought of as completely accurate as it was published in a newspaper. The government was in control of the newspapers and may have been altered to give the impression it was not as bad as it seems. What’s more, a white reporter, Joanmarie Fubbs said “I saw a policeman taking his rifle-butt to several women who were trying to retrieve bodies. They weren’t shot down but they were rifle butted and kicked and booted” This could be thought of as more accurate as it was not published in government controlled newspapers, more so that it came from a white reporter. It could be argued that a black person could have tried to distort the event even further. There were many peaceful protests but the sharpville massacre sticks...
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