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South African Power Groups Essay

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Efforts to Address the Problem
South Africa’s revolution was unique because it was neither an elite-imposed transition nor a classical revolution. Many analysts were surprised that a classical revolution hadn’t occurred sometime in the 1980s (Marx, 1997, 476-479). It is likely that there wasn’t a classical revolution because the military was still loyal to the dominant white group. Furthermore, whites controlled nearly all of the economic power, and as a result, blacks needed the white structure to stay in place to continue lest the economy crumble (p. 478). But, mounting pressure from citizens, a steadily weakening economy, and the international community caused the Afrikaners to reevaluate their position. An elite-imposed transition didn’t occur because the citizens of South Africa had mobilized to too great of an extent. The Afrikaners realized that a negotiated settlement was the only option if they didn’t want to face a thorough-going revolution (p. 478).
This negotiation process wasn’t particularly effective though. It was initially assumed that such a tactic would result in peaceful negotiations similar to those of Brazil (p. 479-480). The ANC promised to end the guerrilla violence that was causing thousands of people to die each year once the negotiations started (p. 481-482). Unfortunately, the perception that violence could enhance negotiating positions quickly grew, and by 1992 South Africa had become, “one of the most violent countries in the world” (p. 483). This violence lead to a situation in which ‘winner take all’ amendments to the constitution were rejected as being too inflammatory (p. 483). Clearly, this slowed down the process of integration. There are simply some parts of Apartheid that needed to be elimin...


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...stricts 87% of the population to just 13% of the land. Overcrowding and a lack of infrastructure remain problems (Mochaki, 1995).
Nevertheless, this was one of the more successful programs of the post-apartheid era. It helped to include those groups that had traditionally been displaced by making them citizens of South Africa again. In addition, it gave millions of people voting rights allowed them to participate in a governing body for the first time in ages. If any change is going to be made, it must include, at the very least, input from the group it is trying to help. Not only did the abolition of homelands do that, but it allowed blacks and the other subjugated minorities access to governmental offices previously reserved for the white citizens of South Africa. Furthermore, abolishing homelands could become an important symbol for the anti-apartheid movement.


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