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Nelson Mandela and the Apartheid

            Diversity is a crucial element of South Africa. It recognizes eleven official languages and a number of ethnic groups. However, from 1948 till 1994 the white Afrikaans government was making an effort to separate these groups. The set of laws was called apartheid – apartness in Afrikaans. They segregated the population into four categories based on their skin color. This policy met with a great deal of resistance. At first there were non-violent protest which later escalated into militant attacks. One of the leading figures of the struggle for abolition of apartheid was Nelson Mandela. He helped to ignite the domestic fight. However, his key importance lies in his imprisonment after the Rivionia trial. He became a world-wide known icon and a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement indirectly helping to get an intentional support for the cause. After his release from prison he became South Africa's First black president and tried to establish his vision of the Rainbow nation.
             In 1948, the National Party attained power and its all-white government promptly began the transformation of the already existing racial segregation into laws.1 These laws came to be know as the apartheid, meaning "apartness" in Afrikaans. The non-white majority of population was forced to live in areas segregated from the whites. The laws remained in effect for almost 50 years resisting the strong and steady opposition to apartheid coming from South Africa and the international community as well. In 1913, three years after South Africa gained its independence, the Land Act was passed. It marked the beginning of territorial segregation. "This law reserved 93 percent (revised to 87 percent in 1936) of the land in South Africa for whites; it prevented Africans-two-thirds of the population at the time-from freely buying land."2 With the oppressive laws, more and more black South Africans began to identify themselves as "Africans".

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