Twenty two years ago this month -- on June 17, 1991 -- South Africa repealed its last apartheid law. "Apartheid," an Afrikaans word meaning "the status of being apart," was a system of racial segregation that lasted from 1948 to 1994. Blacks were deprived of their rights as citizens and faced segregation in housing, education, medical care and other public services. The end of apartheid is generally regarded as arising from the 1994 democratic general elections won by the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela.
Dominique Lapierre's international best-seller "A Rainbow in the Night: the Tumultuous Birth of South Africa," available as a CD audio book, recounts how in 1652 91 farmers were sent by the Dutch East India Company to the southernmost tip of Africa to grow vegetables to supply ships rounding Cape Horn. This would culminate three centuries later into a nation built on the system of racism known as apartheid.
Students and researchers will be well served by "The End of Apartheid," a book in the "Perspectives on Modern World History" series. Books in this series provide background information, present the controversies associated with the event, and offer first-person narratives from people who lived through or were impacted by the event.
After spending 27 years in South African prisons, Nelson Mandela, the inspiring and iconic symbol of the anti-apartheid movement, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and served as the first democratically elected president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
"Nelson Mandela: Conversations with Myself" is a unique collection of his writings and interview transcripts. Arranged in chronological order, this important archive provides real insight into the man's life, thoughts and feelings. Readers may also wish to read Mandela's "Long Walk to Freedom: the Autobiography of Nelson Mandela" which begins with his childhood and ends with his election as president.
Mandela's "Notes to the Future: Words of Wisdom" has been described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as "nothing short of a miracle." This uplifting little book contains more than 300 of Mandela's quotations, both universal and personal in nature, and also includes the text of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
Learn more about apartheid and its aftermath in books by Archbishop Desmond Tutu "The Rainbow People of God: the Making of a Peaceful Revolution" and "No Future without Forgiveness."
Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday.