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How Nelson Mandela used Rugby to unify South Africa Essay

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After spending twenty-seven years in prison, Nelson Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990. In 1991, Nelson Mandela was chosen to become president of the African National Congress. In 1993, Mandela and South African President F.W. de Klerk announced an agreement that the African National Congress and the National Party form a transitional government, effectively ending apartheid and opening the political process to all South Africans (Williamson). Mandela was elected President of South Africa in 1994, and de Klerk became his first deputy. However, even with apartheid abolished, South Africa was still a divided country. Mandela’s legal adviser, Nicholas Haysom, said, “South Africa in 1994 was a country that was split, historically, culturally, racially, and so many other ways.” Within South Africa, there was a vast division between blacks and whites, and Mandela’s job was to bring them together.



One way that Nelson Mandela brought South Africa together was through rugby. While this would seem to be an unlikely way to ease the racial tension, rugby was a crucial piece in the unification of South Africa. While Mandela was serving his time in prison, the international community began to put more pressure on South Africa to release him and end apartheid. To make sure their pressure was felt, opposing nations, especially New Zealand, began violently protesting when the Springboks visited to play (30for30). The Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team, were banned from rugby in 1981. The ban was intended to affect the white South Africans and give the black South Africans leverage to use in negotiations to end apartheid. In 1992, after Mandela was freed, the African National Congress revoked the ban on rugby...


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...any, 1994. Print.

Mandela, Nelson. Mandela An Illustrated Autobiography. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994. Print.

Sampson, Anthony. Mandela The Authorized Biography. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knoff, 1999. Print.

"Nelson Mandela: inauguration speech (1994)." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 30 Aug. 2011.

"Nelson Mandela: speech on his release from prison (1990)." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 30 Aug. 2011.

Taylor, Paul. "Father of His Country." Washington Post (Washington, DC). Feb. 13 1994: Mag. Sec. 10+. SIRS Researcher. Web. 30 Aug 2011.

Williams, Michael W. "Nelson Mandela." Great Lives from History: The Twentieth Century. Ed. Robert F. Gorman. 10 vols. Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 2008. Salem History Web. 30 Aug. 2011.

Carlin, John. Playing the Enemy. New York: The Penguin Press, 2008. Print.


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