How SA emerged as a democracy from the crises of the 1990s


During the 1980s, the apartheid government came under increasing internal pressure. The National Party attempted a political solution to the crisis it faced by creating the cosmetic Tricameral Parliament. This system of governance tampered with, but did not challenge apartheid.

The reforms had the opposite affect to what the apartheid regime intended. Reforms provided renewed impetus for the resistance movements, and the 1980s was a decade which became a turning point in South African history.

Popular protest by masses of ordinary South Africans against the apartheid regime reached its height in the 1980s, and the government responded with extreme brutality and repression.

Please note that this section is detailed and we have broken it up into 3 pages:

  • The trigger of mass civil society protests in the 1980s

  • Liberation organisations

  • In summary: Factors resulting in the crisis

Use the page navigation on the right or bottom of the page

Please note, there may be minor changes to the curriculum from year to year, teachers always check with your Curriculum Advisor and students, check with your teacher. Please click on the feedback icon on the right if you have anything to contribute or if you have any questions.