The Importance of the Opposition of Other Countries in Ending Apartheid in South Africa

The Importance of the Opposition of Other Countries in Ending Apartheid in South Africa
I do agree that international opposition to apartheid was one of the factors in bringing it to an end. However I think there are other causes, both long and short term, that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa. People all over the world were shocked to see the violence in events like the Soweto riots and the Sharpeville and Langa shootings. They also saw the events occurring between the South African government and extremist groups like the anc, which appeared during Verwoerd?s apartheid. These events were short-term causes that brought about the end of apartheid, but they had a large effect on international opinion, which was a long-term cause. However to the rest of the world, what actually happened in South Africa might have appeared different to the reality. This is because often, different interpretations were given by historians, and the people involved. This would have been fairly confusing for people outside South Africa, and they may not have ever really understood completely what was happening.
Therefore many people would not think that apartheid was as bad for the blacks as it was in reality, because of the different interpretations given to the rest of the world. This may have led to little international opposition from some countries, which is why I do not think it was one of the major causes in the ending of apartheid. Another long-term cause was black resistance. In the 1970?s the black South Africans fought back against the government in a far more powerful, bold way than they ever had done before. Extremist groups began to form in all the townships, and riots broke out. There was also the introduction of black consciousness, which was about blacks standing up for themselves without the help of whites. The riots that started as a result of the blacks fighting back at the government did cause international opinion to change. This could have been an intentional or un-intentional consequence, as the blacks may have wanted to voice their opinions to the world, but it is unlikely that they wanted the violence that occurred as a result of the protests to be the thing that affected world opinion. In 1977 the government tried to introduce some reforms in South Africa. This was known as ?total onslaught, total strategy?. The idea of this policy was to become harder on the governments opponents, and to introduce some reforms for the blacks. However this was unsuccessful, and the blacks felt that they had gained nothing from the reforms. This led to an eruption of riots and protests in the townships. The blacks became even more willing to challenge the white rule. During this time guerrilla attacks from the extremist groups like the anc and azapo began to occur more frequently. I think this was another cause because this severely weakened the government?s ability to keep control of the townships, and eventually many of them became completely ungovernable. In my opinion, this was a very important short-term cause of the ending of apartheid in South Africa, because the government were weakened and had to arrest 34,000 people to try and maintain some form of law and order. However after the violence was brought under some sort of control, P.W Botha, the leader of the nationalists had no idea what he should do next. This shows just how weak the government was in South Africa now, and that it would have to make drastic changes to its policies to stay in power. The eruption of the townships was linked to the rise of black resistance, which had become increasingly powerful in the 1970?s. If black resistance and black consciousness had not have become so powerful in South Africa, then it is unlikely that violence would have broken out like this, or would have been so difficult to get under control. Another consequence of the riots in the townships was that eventually the Nationalist party had to split. Although this did not mean that apartheid had been ended in South Africa, it led to the eventual fall of it, as the separate parties became to weak to ban the anti-apartheid parties, and therefore gaining support from the black South Africans. To say that international opposition is the main reason that apartheid fell in South Africa, I think is not completely true. The main cause, in my opinion, is the rise of black resistance and black consciousness after the 1970?s. As the blacks became more powerful and strong, they were able to make a difference, although only small at first, in the way they were treated by the South African government. This had an effect on international opinion in the long-term, because as the world saw the events happening in South Africa, like the Soweto riots and the guerrilla attacks, it shocked their opinion and they could see how the blacks were treated under white supremacist rule. After this I think other countries became more willing to criticise South Africa and try and bring apartheid to an end, so in that respect international opinion was an important factor. However without the struggle of the blacks, and the effort they put in to bringing apartheid to an end, right from when it started, was, in my opinion the main and most important cause of bringing it to an end. However without the help of other countries and the weakness of the white supremacist government in the long run, I do not think that black resistance alone could have bought apartheid to an end in South Africa. Therefore, in a way the blacks and black resistance were the power behind ending apartheid, but without the political opposition and help from other countries, it would not have been enough to actually end apartheid in South Africa for good.

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