After World War Two, South Africa came under worldwide pressure in response to its rigorous apartheid laws, systematic repression of blacks and forced relocation to the Homelands (partially given independence in 1976). For this reason, South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1961, isolating itself internationally and as a result, became subject to economic sanctions.
The End of Apartheid After attempts in the 1980s to widen South Africa's political and economical scope, through selected mitigation of apartheid, President Frederik Willem de Klerk began comprehensive reforms in 1989. A referendum held in 1992 led to the white population vote for the abolition of segregation. This resulted in negotiations between the African National Congress (ANC), led by Nelson Mandela, and the government. After passing a new constitution, based on equal rights for all ethnic groups, the first general and democratic elections took place in 1994. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, ending over three decades of white rule. The abolition of Apartheid resulted in a number of further changes: the dismantling of the Homelands, restructuring and partial renaming of the provinces and the non-white population being given the right to live where they choose. U. Jürgens, Ü: J. Moar, C. Fleming