Apartheid Sources Question - Sample Essay
Explain whether any one of the factors in the list was more important than the others. The ending of white minority rule in South Africa was down to a mixture of all of these points. Without all of these points, the ending of the majority rule might not have happened. All of the points form the international isolation all of the way up to the actions of De Klerk contributed to the end of the majority rule.
However, if I had to put them into order of importance, I would say that Mandela’s actions were the most important, closely followed by the actions of De Klerk. Nelson Mandela was the one most involved with the ending of the majority rule, as he has the most links with the different points. Firstly, Mandela was responsible for the organization of the MK, and for many of the other ANC movements and many other black protests. He was an inspiration for many of the protests and riots even when he was in prison.
If he hadn’t have done any of these things in the first place, then the government would not have imprisoned him, and then he would not have gained the international and political attention that he did while he was in prison. This international and political awareness of the problems in South Africa that Nelson Mandela caused also brought around the economic sanctions. The sanctions and the vast disinvestments had put South Africa’s economy into considerable trouble, and this is what drove De Klerk to realise that the Apartheid had to be stopped.
If he had not realised this, then he would not have come to power in South Africa, and he would not have released Mandela from prison, starting the negotiations that led to the CODESA talks. De Klerk was also pressured into these actions by the increased violence caused by black protests and riots after Mandela’s release. Again, if Mandela had not have been around, the inspiration would not have been there, the MK would not have been set up, and who knows what would have happened.
Another link with Mandela is the fact that De Klerk decided to talk to him instead of one of the other black rights leaders around at the time. This is down to the fact that De Klerk saw Mandela as someone he could compromise with him, a reasonable man who would see things fairly, and would not solely be out for revenge. If Mandela had not of been perceived like this by De Klerk, then it is possible that De Klerk would have followed the same route as his predecessors had, and he could have just continued with the idea of apartheid, and white minority rule.
Therefore, without all of Mandela’s actions, De Klerk would not have been as effective in the ending of white minority rule in South Africa, the economic sanctions might not have been used as early as they were, or to such a great extent, and the pressure from the black protests would not have been as strong as it was. However, along with Mandela’s actions, the other factors had to take place themselves, and without these, the end of the white minority rule would not have been reached when it was.