"FREEDOM. FREEDOM. ALL WE WANT is Freedom!--send a message to Soweto. Send a message now!" went the chorus to Jeffrey Osborne's popular 1986 anti-apartheid protest song. Eventually, the former leaders of South Africa did accept the message that the international community would not accept anything less than equal citizenship for its nonwhite residents.
Numerous events that took place in South Africa and elsewhere led to the 1991 repeal of South Africa's apartheid laws. For example, international attention was drawn to the plight of South Africans during the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Hundreds of blacks, most of them school-age children, were killed in violent clashes with the police. The students were protesting the introduction of Afrikaans in schools as the language of instruction. The language requirement would have further isolated Africans from the English-speaking world. The outrage only intensified when a year later police killed Steve Biko, the leader of the South African Students' Organization.
In the 1980s, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu became an international symbol of the battle to end apartheid. He took his message of freedom throughout the world and was eventually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
The 1989 retirement of South African Prime Minister P.W. Botha, and his replacement by F.W. de Klerk, represented a significant political change. The imposition of sanctions by the United States forced de Klerk to accept the reality that economic...