Black South Africans have gone through many trials and tribulations for reasons that most cannot explain. But on February 2nd, 1990, a swift change was made to the nation of South Africa by a man named F.W de Klerk. He was the head of state, and the man that began to lay the ground work for a democratic South Africa. For a white man, this must have been tough for him to do, but he did not hesitate one bit, as he knew it was for the better.
“In dramatic fashion, Mr. de Klerk announced the lifting of the bans on the ANC, the PAC, the South African Communist Party, and thirty-one illegal organizations; the freeing of political prisoners incarcerated for nonviolent activities; the suspension of capital punishment; and the lifting of various restrictions imposed by the State of Emergency.”
This to me stands out as the beginning of a new era in South Africa. All of Nelson Mandela’s hard work and struggles finally paid off for the country that he loved so much.
Through the divorce from his first wife, being imprisoned for so many years, and not being able to see his loving wife and family, Mandela has gone through a struggle that most of us cannot even imagine. One of the most dedicated men in the history of the world, and this was the moment where he could finally take a breath and say, “Wow. We did it.” After 40 years of persecution, the ANC was now legal, and blacks all over the world had a reason to smile.
I never knew that it was until 1990 when all these changes were made. A year and a day before I was born, blacks in South Africa still were not considered equal and I found that pretty astonishing. I have lived my entire live pretty much free from racism and segregation. Of course they still exist on a smaller scale today, but not like that of South Africa before 1990.
February 2nd, 1990 should go down as one of the most important dates not only in South African history, but for the history of mankind.