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Brief South African history and defining moments

Spanning the first days of colonisation in 1652, one hundred years of Khosa Wars, the birth of the ANC, to the election of its fourth democratically elected President, South Africa has a vibrant history. Below is an overview of the history that defined the country of South Africa. The emphasis is on 'overview', so the best way to find out everything that happened in between, is to go there yourself.

Way back then

South Africa's original inhabitants were the San (or Bushmen) and Khoekhoe peoples, with Blacks arriving around 2,000 years ago. Seeking a route to India, the Portuguese navigator and explorer, Bartolomeu Dias, led the first European expedition to round the Cape of Good Hope in 1488.


Table Moutain

Colonolisation followed 164 years later with the arrival of Jan van Riebeek in 1652 under orders of the Dutch-East India Company to establish a replenishing point at the fairest cape of all. Little did Van Riebeek know that when he laid the foundations of his fort at the foot of the magnificent Table Mountain where it kept the thundering Atlantic and Indian Oceans at bay, that he was laying the foundations of Cape Town, or the Mother City, as we affectionately refer to it today, as well as the foundations of the powerhouse of Africa.

The production pressure on the Cape settlement soon forced the Dutch East India Company to free employees from their contracts to become independent farmers, the so-called first free burghers. In time Protestants from Europe, mainly French, German and Dutch were permitted to boost the colony's economy.

Encroaching on the land of the indigenous Khoikhoi and San tribes, the Dutch settlers - also known as the Boers - encountered many battles while spreading out from Cape Town in search for grazing land. Many were taken into the Dutch colonial economy as servants, along with slaves from Batavia, Indonesia and Madagascar.

Racial Conflict & British Colonialism

Eventually the Boer expansion reached the Fish River where it met the south moving Black migration, in the form of the Xhosas, head on. The Xhosa wars, a series of nine wars spread over a century, began in 1779. Initially fought between the Boers and the Xhosas, it later also raged between the British and the Xhosas upon the British having nabbed the colony by force from the Dutch in 1795 under command of General Sir James Henry Craig.

Power was relinquished to the Dutch in 1803, but the British reconcquered the Cape once more in January 1806. The British laws and customs of the ruling British conflicted with those of the isolated Boer culture, especially regarding slavery.

Slaves, the Black circuit & rebellion

Reports of callous treatment of natives by their Boer owners were spread to London by missionaries. The British rulers promulgated the Hottentot Proclamation in 1809 to increase the protection of servants and introduced the pass-system - something that became a bone of contention during the twentieth century's Apartheid system. It also introduced the Black Circuit, an annual circuit court that toured the interior to hear cases of servants against their Boer masters.

The relationship between a master and a slave was a harsh relationship and that excesses occurred on the Cape frontier is undeniable. This must have been particularly true on distant a frontier where the slave owners or employers fought a constant battle against crime, raids and invasion in the absence of legal constraints and government support. The Boers whose mentality was stilled based on the social rules of the past and outdated master-slave relationships, resented not only British interference, but being hauled before court to answer to their servants - servants they considered savage barbarians. This resentment rose despite the fact that the vast majority of them were actually found innocent by the Black Circuit Court.

The pot boiled over when a Frederik Bezuidenhout ignored several summonses to appear before the Black Circuit for withholding the pay of a servant he accused of stealing from him. The British issued a warrant of arrest for contempt of court. When they tried to arrest him, Bezuidenhout, with his mulato son and a third man, hid in a cave. Bezuidenhout fired upon the soldiers but was eventually killed in the exchange.

At his funeral, his brother took an oath of revenge against those responsible for his brother's death. He organised about sixty Boers and incited the whole community to resistance against British authority. He believed that his decision to chase the British and the Khoikhoi into the sea and to establish an independent state on the eastern frontier coincided with the wishes of all the burghers.

About sixty burghers took an oath of vengeance and loyalty and took part in an armed rebellion which became known as the Slachter's Nek Rebellion. It was soon suppressed, but five of the rebels were hanged one after the other before a large group of people who had been ordered to attend. The ropes of the first four broke at the first attempt, leaving them still alive. A unanimous plea for mercy went around, but was ignored. The sentence was carried using one rope.

Punishment for rebellious behaviour would not have caused bitterness, as some farmers even helped in repressing the rebellion by the small group of dissidents, but the callousness of the proceedings actually aroused massive discontent against the British yoke amongst the frontiersmen.

Slavery was eventually abolished in 1834, seeing the release of some forty thousand Boer owned slaves - and the Boers, required to individually travel to London at massive cost to each, receive lesser compensation there. This effectively resulted in Boer slaves having been emancipated without compensation and additional massive Boer resentment against the English government for not protecting them against black invasions from the north which caused massive loss of life and property.

The Great Trek

The year 1835 saw the Boer groups begin moving north in search of peace, agricultural land and self-rule. A Boer by the name of Piet Retief published the Manifesto of the Emigrant in the Grahamstown Journal in 1837 complaining of the severe losses which the Boers had been forced to sustain by the emancipation of the slaves, lack of security provided by government, and the unjustifiable disgust which has been cast on them by the ruling British.

Retief led three thousand Boers into the African interior and across the Drakensberg Mountains (right) in a move (trek) which became known as the Great Trek. Despite unwillingness and inability to protect the Boers, the British adopted the Cape of Good Hope Punishment Act to extend British authority over the Boers in the interior and later instituted sanctions criminalising provisioning of the Boers.

Drakensberg Moutains Image courtesy of
Photographer - Andrew Luke

The Battle of Blood River & Free Republics

Once across Orange River and the Vaal River further north, the Boers founded their republics. In the Cape, the trouble between the Xhosas and the burghers that remained continued unabated. In an attempt to create a buffer zone between the feuding groups, British authorities persuaded some 5,000 middle class British immigrants, many tradesmen, to leave Britain and settle in regions between the clashing border farmers and black tribes. The plan was singularly unsuccessful.

When Piet Retief and his Trek moved into what is today known as Kwazulu-Nata in1838 - the land conquered years before by the warrior king, Shaka - it was ruled by Shaka's murderer, his half brother Dingane. Having negotiated a land purchase from Dingane, Retief and his 70 - strong, unarmed delegation, were clubbed to death by Dingane's impis (Zulu warriors). Dingane then attacked the Boer wagon columns with great success.

The Boers decided upon revenge and during the Battle of Blood River of 16 December 1838, they destroyed Dingane's power by inducing 3,000 Zulu casualties to his army. The Boers reported just three wounded combatants.

Back in the Cape, in 1841, the British authorities promulgated the infamous Masters and Servants Ordinance, perpetuating white control.

Thanks to the pioneering Boers of the Great Trek, the interior of the country was opened up. The British gradually extended their control from the Cape along the east coast eventually conquering Natal in 1842.

The city of Pretoria (now in Gauteng Province) was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius and became the capital of the Transvaal Republic in 1860. Marthinus was the son of Andries Pretorius, the Boer statesman and Boer hero of the Battle of Blood River. Pretoria became the capital of the Transvaal in 1860, the administrative capital of South Africa in 1910, and a city in 1931.

The year 1867 saw the discovery of diamonds in Griqualand West on the lower Vaal. This ended the isolation of the Boers in the interior, changing the course of South African history.

The Discovery of Diamonds and War

Diamonds were discovered at what is today known as Kimberley - now capital of the Northern Cape Province). Fortune seekers from all around the globe flocked to the areas surrounding Kimberley. The British formally annexed the diamond bearing area in 1871, declaring it a Crown colony in 1873. Four years later, in 1877, the British went on to annex the Boer-founded Transvaal Republic.

After one hundred years of friction, the Khosa wars ended in 1879.

The First Anglo-Boer War

Tension rose as a consequence of the British arrogance. The Boers sent a delegation with a petition to Britain to protest the annexation. Britain stood its ground and although it promised considerable self-government, it was not implemented. All peaceful Boer efforts to regain independence failed and in May 1879 the government of the Orange Free-State Republic backed the Transvaal's aspirations. Even when the Liberal Party came to power in Britain, the Transvaal's sovereignty was rejected by Britain.

British authorities in the Transvaal began attaching the property of Boers who refused to pay taxes, such as wagon taxes over and above normal state taxes. The Boer militia rose and confiscated the attached goods from British authorities. On 8 December 1880, a large gathering of the Boer nation took place at Paardekraal, where it elected what effectively constituted a three-man interim government.

On 13 December 1880, the Transvaal unilaterally declared its independence from Britain and the restoration of its republic. Four days later, British flags were taken down by the Boers and replaced with the well-known and still revered Vierkleur (Four colour).

So began the First Anglo-Boer war. The Boer militia, consisting of volunteering irregulars, smashed the British forces at Bronkhorstspruit, Laingsnek, Schuinshoogte (Ingogo) and forced Major-General Sir George Pomeroy Colley into retreat. The British tried to bring in reinforcements from KwaZulu-Natal, but the Boers waited for them at the border.

On the night of 26 February 1881, Colley scaled Mount Majuba, a hill on the border overlooking the Boer camp. It is estimated that around 365-375 officers men - comprised of elements of the 58th regiment, 60th Rifles, 92nd Hussars and the Royal Navy - occupied Majuba's summit with the balance of his force of around 550 men serving as a rear guard at the foot of Majuba.

Despite it being a Sunday - a day on which Boers traditionally did not fight - Boer Commandant Nichloas Smit had no option but to react to British presence on high ground. He immediately sent in 350 Boers to deal with the threat. The Boers scaled the slopes of Mount Majuba and routed Colley's force. One Boer died in the battle and five were wounded. Major-General Colley together with 92 soldiers paid the highest price. Another 134 Britons were wounded and 59 taken prisoner. The First Anglo Boer War was over in four months.

At the 1881 peace talks which can superficially be summarized as the Pretoria Convention, Paul Kruger insisted and succeeded in achieving total independence for his Transvaal Republic, except for foreign relations and affairs with black peoples.

In 1883, talks resumed in London and in 1884, the London Convention was signed in terms of which the republic became the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republic with fixed borders. Kruger was elected as ZAR president four times. His last re-election in 1898, was on the eve of the Second Anglo Boer War.

The discovery of gold and continuing war

The discovery of gold in 1886 lead to the Witwatersrand Gold Rush with foreign gold seekers, or 'uitlanders' as the Boers called them, flocking to the Transvaal Republic. As had been the case with the discovery of diamonds, the British again saw great opportunity in laying their hands on South Africa's gold and fulfilling their ambition of a unified British colony in southern Africa. The Boers saw the uitlanders as a threat to their continuing independence, and to retain Boer political control in their homeland, they restricted voting rights to foreigners with fourteen years residency.

The British did not like that the Boers had thwarted their African ambitions for the umpteenth time. The great imperialist, Cecil John Rhodes, then premier of the Cape Province, feared that the wealth in the hands of the Boer republics would eventually topple the Empire from its dominance on the subcontinent. Rhodes and his cronies organised an uitlander uprising in the Witwatersrand to coincide with an invasion (the Jameson Raid) from present-day Botswana. The Boers were ready and arrested Jameson and his men. The unsuccessful raid weakened good relations between the British and the Boers and was an inciting factor in the Second Boer War.

The Second Anglo-Boer War

The Second Anglo- Boer War, also known as the South African war, erupted in 1899. The lure of gold was reason enough for the British Empire to commit the resources necessary to win the war. The Boers could field 45,000 men, of which 35,000 were in the field at one time against the 443,000 odd soldiers and 16,000 odd Blacks as Empire railway patrollers and blockhouse guards, unleashing against them over three years. Normally the British fielded around 250,000 soldiers at one time. Over a period of three years the British whittled the Boer forces down to 10,000 men. Thirty one thousand were captured and 4,000 killed. British casualties amounted to 22,000.

The Boer irregulars could not face the might of the Empire head-on and so engaged in guerilla tactics targeting British troop columns, telegraph sites, railways and storage depots. In an effort to cut off Boer supplies, the British implemented a scorched earth policy, destroying Boer farms and moving civilians into concentration camps. Almost one in every four Boer women and children held, died in these concentration camps. By the end of hostilities, around 28,000 Boer women and children had perished of malnutrition and disease. This constituted between 10% - 12% of the entire Boer population of the two republics.

Blacks Participation in the War

The Anglo-Boer wars were predominantly fought between Boers and Anglo-Saxons, but both sides used Blacks. About 15,000 Blacks followed their Boer employers into the war as 'agterryers' (rearguards). Although the racial divide was already distinct at the time, great affinity mostly existed between Boers and their employees. Some Blacks apparently even joined the Boer forces voluntary.

Although typically South African, the Blacks were mainly used in the subservient capacity as rearguards of ammunition and horses, as well as domestic duties such as cooking, collecting firewood and loading firearms. Some, like the 15-year old, Kleinbooi Sabalana, were indeed trusted by their employees with fighting and acquitted themselves well. No proper record of agterryer deaths exist.

The British mostly used Blacks as trackers, informants, dispatch runners, blockhouse and railway guards. At the same time, approximately 15,000 black inmates of other British concentration camps had also died. The British also established the black concentration camps along road, railway and other approaches to their concentration camps for Boer women and children, as early warning posts. This resulted in immense Boer resentment against Blacks and further fuelled the fires of racial division underlying South African society.

Short-lived peace

Hostilities were finally settled, and in 1902 the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed. Three years later, at an astounding 3,106.75 carats, the largest rough diamond in the world, the star of Africa, was found in 1905 at the Premier Diamond Mining Company in Cullinan, a small town 30 km east of Pretoria. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I, weighing 530.2 carats), the Lesser Star of Africa (known as the Cullinan II, weighing 317.40 carats), and 103 other diamonds of nearly flawless clarity. The principal diamonds are mounted in the British crown jewels.

The Great Star of Africa was the largest polished diamond in the world at 530.2 carats until the discovery of the Golden Jubilee Diamond, at 545.67 carats, from the same mine.

Union of South Africa - Part of the British Commonwealth

On 31 May 1910, the four southern African colonies conquered by Britain - Cape, Natal, Orange Free State and ZAR (Transvaal), were united as the Union of South Africa.

Blacks still in the cold - birth of the ANC

In 1912, the African National Congress (ANC) was created to bring all black Africans together as one people to defend their rights and freedoms. John Dube, its first president, and poet and author, Sol Plaatje, were among its founding members. Fluent in at least seven languages, Plaatjie translated works of William Shakespeare into Tswana and was the first black South African to write a novel in English, entitled Mhudi.

The notorious Land Act was promulgated in 1913. The anti-black laws pushed black people from their farms into the cities and towns to work, ultimately restricting their movement within the country. Having been rather inactive until the mid-1940s, the ANC remodeled as a mass movement. With increased attacks on the rights of their people, members of the ANC Youth League - Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo - drafted a military response upheld by ideas of African nationalism, gathering support among the new population.

WWI and the Rebellion

The outbreak of the First World War put the fledgling Union, consisting of former enemies, to a great test. The government, under premiership of General Louis Botha, a former Boer leader, informed Britain that the Union would protect itself, and that British garrisons could be withdrawn from the Union for use in Europe. The Boers of the Transvaal and the Free State accepted that.

Britain requested South Africa to invade Namibia, then known as the German colony - German West Africa. Botha agreed and requested volunteers for the campaign. Although German West Africa - later named South West Africa - was a German colony, it was inhabited by many Boers families of those in the Union. Many Boers in the Cape and former Boer republics objected to a campaign against their friends and family in German West Africa on behalf of the former enemy - Britain.

The opposition was split in two. A few, under the influence of General Manie Maritz, crossed over to the Germans, constituting mutiny and treason. Others under the influence of the famous General Christiaan de Wet, mobilised in an armed protest. The vast majority of this group had no intention to cross over to the Germans or take up arms against the Union government. They gathered and marched on Pretoria in a show of force to show their discontent about the invasion of German West Africa. It was a tactical blunder.

Prime Minister of the Union, General Botha, made no distinction between the intentions or objectives of the two groups. He considered all rebels and declared martial law. The government used only Boers in the Union Defence Force to quickly suppress the rebellious elements. They were captured and harsh sentences were imposed. Jopie Fourie, a Union Defence Force officer who had failed to resign his commission before joining the rebels, was correctly but very hastily convicted of treason and executed by firing squad.

Although the rebels were a minority in Boer (also known as Afrikaner) society at the time, the failure of Generals Botha and Smuts as leaders of the South African Party to extend mercy to Fourie in particular, proved a political blunder. It split the Boer or Afrikaner nation into supporters of the SA Party and the National Party and turned the majority of Boers against the governing pro-British SA Party and its supporters. Smuts served as Prime Minister until 1924 and again from 1939 until 1948. Smuts served the Empire in both World Wars and became a British Field Marshall during the Second World War. He was the only person to sign the treaties ending both wars.

Of the 334,000 men who volunteered for full time service in the Union Defence Force during the Second World War, around 9,000 were killed in action.

Afrikaner Nationalism

After the Anglo-Boer War, the Boer POWs had returned from British incarceration in Bermuda, Ceylon and St Helena to find their farmhouses destroyed: their furniture, implements and belongings missing; their women and children dead; their cattle herds killed, and with no money to start again. They returned as destitute beggars and the so-called 'poor white' problem arose.

Humiliated, they turned to the mines and industry to work as unskilled workers. Slowly but surely, they rose from the ashes and together they made plans, created companies and organisations such as the 'Broederbond' (Brotherhood) to rise again. It is a proud characteristic of the Afrikaner nation that it 'makes a plan' and does not extend a begging hand or demand hand-outs from others to succeed, but it also ingrained into the Afrikaner a separatist outlook to life and a distrust bordering on aversion against anything non-Afrikaner.

As the National Party gained strength it used the secret Broederbond to ensure that it infiltrated the state administration, business and every sphere of social and political influence. The Second World War again highlighted the split between those who were prepared to serve Britain - mainly the English in Natal and to a lesser extent the Cape as well as SA Party and Unionist Party members - and those against supporting the English, the Nationalists.


In 1948 the National Party defeated the United Party (merged SA and Unionist Parties) and the Afrikaners came to power in South Africa once again, albeit as part of the Commonwealth. The National Party immediately set out to eventually break away from British rule and regain total sovereignty in the form of a republic dominated by the Afrikaner. In 1949, it adopted legislation which ensured that South African citizens were British subjects no more. In 1950, it ended legal appeals to Britain and over time introduced the legislative basis for what became known as Apartheid (Seperatism) in terms of which blacks were denied political rights in the country.

South Africa became a republic under white and National Party rule on 31 May 1961, and as a consequence of its Apartheid policy, was removed as a Commonwealth member.

Black Nationalism

On March 21st 1960, some 300 demonstrators at the township of Sharpeville in the Transvaal, took part in strikes and protests against the pass laws. The small South African Police contingent panicked in the face of the black masses opposing them and opened fire, injuring at least 180 Blacks and killing 69. Today, it is marked as a public holiday, Human Rights Day. The same year, the president of the ANC, Albert Luthuli, became the first South African to win a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the non-violent struggle against Apartheid.

The Nationalist regime stood firm in denying black demands for rights. In response the ANC formed their military wing, the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) in 1961. Following the banning of the ANC in 1960, prominent ANC members moved to Lusaka, Zambia, and set up the preliminary ANC headquarters after 1963. In June 1964, the lawyer from the Transkei homeland, Nelson Mandela, was convicted of treason and sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment. As leader of the liberation movement against apartheid, Mandela's vision was the right for everyone to live in freedom.

The National Party leader, P. W. Botha became Prime Minister in 1978. In a campaign to eliminate the black liberation movements, his government turned the country into a police state with police, soldiers and armed vehicles patrolling the black townships and squatter camps. Botha went on to become the first executive state president from 1984 to 1989

When the ANC and other liberation organisations realised that the National Party could not be convinced to recognise their aspirations peacefully, they launched the so-called Armed Struggle. Using terrorist tactics in government buildings and public areas, they killed and marred many civilians in the process. Those Blacks who did not join the resistance were violently victimised by their own people through means such as necklacing, where a petrol filled tyre was placed around the victim's neck and set alight. The social brutality of the Armed Struggle forced apathetic Blacks - through sheer terror - to support the political aspirations. It resulted in a lawless society in which Blacks constantly feared for their lives.

Hector Pieterson

Protesting for better education on 16 June 1976, around 30,000 black students in Soweto took to the streets protesting a government order for all classes to be taught in Afrikaans - the language of the white minority.

The students were met with teargas and live bullets, officially killing 23 students. Now a national holiday, Youth Day honours all the young people who lost their lives in the struggle against Apartheid and Bantu Education.

This iconic picture by Sam Nzima held the world's attention: Hector Pieterson, age 13, was one the first students to be killed by a policeman's bullet. Alongside him is his 17-year-old sister.

Image courtesy of

With the country in great turmoil, the anti Apartheid struggle had made the world's news agenda. Economic sanctions were hurting the SA economy and pressure from outside as well as inside the country began mounting. A series of minor reforms in the direction of racial equality were introduced, but President P.W. Botha's cosmetic changes did not satisfy the international community or the disenfranchised South African Blacks. The South African government was left with no other option than to look for a negotiated settlement. In 1984, the Bishop of Johannesburg, Desmond Tutu, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work against apartheid.

In August 1989, Botha resigned as President because of ill health and F.W. de Klerk was sworn in as acting State President. Six months later, on 2 February 1990, de Klerk announced the dismantling of the Apartheid system, the un-banning of all liberation movements, including the ANC, and the release of political prisoners, in particular anti-Apartheid campaigner, Nelson Mandela. After 27 years in prison on Robin Island, Nelson Mandela was released on February 11th 1990.

Democracy and Black rule

Negotiations for a changeover of power to a majority government began after more than a year of preliminary talks. All significant political role players were invited to take part in the negotiations on 20 December 1991 at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA).

As part of a plot by the far-right in South Africa to derail negotiations to end apartheid, Chris Hani, Umkhonto we Sizwe chief of staff and fierce opponent of the apartheid government, was assassinated. Serious tensions followed with fears that the country would erupt in violence. Although not yet president of the country, Mandela addressed the nation appealing for calm - his speech was regarded as 'presidential'. A Government of National Unity was formed and a new constitution was agreed during 1993 in which all parties polling more than 5% in the elections would be represented in the cabinet.

Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their efforts to transform South African society. On election day, amidst a feeling of goodwill throughout the country, the first free and multi-racial elections were held on 26 April 1994. Winning 62,6% of the vote, the ANC came to power. Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as executive State President, with F.W. de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki as deputy presidents.

Marking the end of South Africa's international sports boycott, the country hosted and won the Rugby World Cup, beating New Zealand 15 points to 12. It went to a heart-stopping extra time which saw both sides score penalty goals in the first half of extra time. In the end it was fly half Joel Stransky who landed a drop goal, to the elation of the entire country.

In a defining moment in South African history, wearing a green and gold Springbok rugby shirt and baseball cap, President Nelson Mandela presented South African captain, Francois Pienaar the William Webb Ellis Cup.

South Africa's second democratic elections in 1999 resulted in the ANC increasing its majority marginally. Nelson Mandela retired and Thabo Mbeki succeeded as President. The ANC was re-elected with an increased majority in 2004, in the country's third democratic elections and that same year, South Africa was announced as the host of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

South Africa in the new millennium

A new public holiday was announced on 24 September 2006. The day recognises aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and difficult to pin down: its history, 11 official languages and exciting local cuisine, as well as its magnificent landscapes. The Government decide a theme for each year.

The ANC has been finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between its history as a liberation organisation, a political party in a democratic society, and the role of its members as controlling the state. Much discontent regarding its delivery is mounting. It is claimed that education, health care, municipal services, water quality, electricity supply, law enforcement and firearms licensing, are rapidly deteriorating and that corruption in state organs has spiraled out of control.

This has caused concern and infighting within the ANC which came to a head in September 2008 and resulted in the defeat in ANC structures and the resignation of Thabo Mbeki as president. It also resulted in a party split and the establishment of Cope, a new party by former ANC leaders such as Mosiuoa Lekota former Minister of Defence, Sam Shilowa former union leader and prime minister of the Gauteng province, and others.

Cope fared surprisingly well for a fundless new party during the April 2009 elections. The ANC lost its two-thirds majority and political commentators agree that unless the ANC, under the new president Jacob Zuma, can dramatically improve service delivery by state organs, curb corruption amongst officials and reconcile the racial divide which increased dramatically during the Mbkei era, its support will continue to slide amongst the new Black middleclass.

After the ban on the ANC was lifted, Zuma was one of the first ANC leaders to return to South Africa to begin negotiations and a key player in organising the Groote Schuur Minute between the FW de Klerk regime and the ANC that reached important decisions about the return of exiles and the release of political prisoners.

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