In the 1970s, characterized by the almost total decolonization of Africa, the South Africa responded to its international isolation by supporting the conservative and anti-Marxist armed movements in neighboring countries, while the UN also imposed commercial sanctions. Internally, the 1970s marked an increase in social and racial conflict (in 1973 a wave of strikes in the mining sector led to the granting of wage increases and the registration of the main African workers’ unions; in 1976 it was repressed with over 1000 a revolt that broke out in Soweto against an education reform project, which included among other things the introduction of Afrikaans in schools reserved for blacks), to which the government reacted by strengthening the military and police apparatus and by tightening the pace in granting independence, never recognized internationally, to four Bantustans (Transkei, 1976; Bophuthatswana, 1977; Venda, 1979; Ciskei, 1981). In 1984 the new Constitution came into force, characterized by the presence in Parliament of three chambers, each elected by a corresponding group: the whites, the Asians and the colored, while the blacks were still left out and the government responded to their protest with repression. army (1984-85), which caused thousands of deaths. The international community reacted with new economic sanctions, which were followed by the official renunciation of the S. Republic to support the guerrillas in Angola and Mozambique (1988) and the recognition of the independence of Namibia (1990). In 1989 PW Botha, Mandela.
In 1991, following the negotiations between whites and blacks (the ANC were allies with the Communist Party and the major trade unions in the country) and the protests of nationalists both Boer and Zulu, the most vexatious laws were abolished and in 1994, at the same time as the withdrawal of international sanctions and the launch of the provisional Constitution, the first free elections were held, won by the ANC. A government of national unity followed, chaired by Mandela (also as president of the South Africa) and with De Klerk as vice-presidency, which brought the country back into the international community, trying to solve the socio-economic problems inherited from the past. The figure of Mandela, already charismatic in the very long period of detention, became that of a father of the country, balanced and above the parts, which combined aspects of continuity of the African tradition with those of the modernity of a democratic head of state. The Commission for Truth and Reconciliation (1995-98) assumed an extremely important role in the transition phase: commissioned by Mandela and chaired by the Anglican bishop D. Tutu, Nobel prize for peace in 1984, it had the task of drawing up a list of those who, on both fronts, had suffered violence during the apartheid regime, identify the perpetrators of the crimes, amnest them if they had made a full confession and proved that the offense had been committed for political and not personal reasons. The new Constitution, which emphasized the defense of individual guarantees and provided, within a centralistic vision of the State, the recognition of a limited form of autonomy for the provinces, was promulgated in 1996. In a situation of relative political stability, but of suffered overall balance, Mandela’s decision not to reapply for the presidency of the Republic, while arousing concern, confirmed the efforts of the South Africa. For South Africa history, please check historyaah.com.
In 1999 Mandela was succeeded by T. Mbeki, already vice president and reconfirmed president in 2004; a pragmatic leader, appreciated in the business world, a firm supporter of the need for an ‘African renaissance’, Mbeki tried to guarantee continuity both internally and internationally, but encountered considerable difficulties, not being able to count on the charisma and the undisputed popularity of Mandela. Disheartened by the ANC, Mbeki resigned from office in September 2008; after the brief presidency of K. Motlanthe, in 2009 J. Zuma was appointed president, with Motlanthe vice president. In December 2012, Zuma was re-elected by a large majority to lead the ANC for the next five years, while former trade unionist C. Ramaphosa was appointed as vice president.
In the general elections – the first after Mandela’s death – held in May 2014 with a massive turnout (72%), the ANC obtained an absolute majority (62.1%), which allowed outgoing president Zum to get a second term, while the Democratic Alliance, the country’s second largest political force and first opposition party, received 22.2% of the vote and the Economic Freedom Fighters got 6.3% of the vote. The cases of corruption within the ANC nevertheless fueled the distrust of voters, and the same figure of Zuma appeared controversial, investigated for several cases of corruption, rape, fraud and money laundering; at the administrative offices of 2016, also due to the worsening of the economic crisis that has afflicted the country for years, the ANC achieved the worst results ever, and in the following months numerous street demonstrations called for the resignation of the head of state, who despite the motions of no confidence (nine since his election) managed to remain in office. In December 2017 Ramaphosa took over from Zuma in the position of leader of the ANC, and from February 2018, following the resignation that the ANC forced the head of state, in the presidential one. In the political elections held in May 2019, Ramaphosa’s ANC confirmed itself as the winner, however, obtaining only 57% of the votes – the most disappointing result since the end of apartheid – and with a sharp decline in voter turnout (65% of entitled, compared to 73.5% in 2014).