Day Of Reconciliation is celebrated in South Africa on December 16th. This holiday marks the end of apartheid, a policy of racial segregation that continued until 1994 and had a negative impact on the nation. The horrendous injustice is well-remembered, and South Africa does not want to see it happen again.
The Europeans, known as the Boers, were in conflict with the indigenous population from the very beginning. The Boers were much better trained and had modern weapons, making it difficult for the locals to resist. They were forcibly made into slaves, a situation that persisted until the end of the 19th century when the British arrived and pushed the Boers back. The British eventually unified the occupied territories into a dominion, and the first sprouts of apartheid began to be felt.
The descendants of both the Boers and the British viewed the dark-skinned as slaves and the policy of racial discrimination continued. African people were not allowed to be elected to government bodies, acquire land, use public transport, visit places of recreation, or study in the same educational institutions as white people. Punitive measures were also used to enforce these rules. African society responded with demonstrations, strikes, and other forms of protest.
In 1989, Frederik Willem de Klerk was elected President of South Africa and the situation began to change for the better. De Klerk abolished racial discrimination and provided black people with rights and freedoms. The regime collapsed, bringing relief and a sense of hope. However, there is still tension between the people and a desire for revenge for 50 years of humiliation.
- Even in large cities there are areas where it is better for white people not to go.
- Approximately 50% of the population lives below the poverty line.
- African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, but he was released ahead of schedule after the collapse of the regime.
How to take part
If you would like to learn more about South Africa’s past and celebrate Day Of Reconciliation, you can watch documentaries or study history books. You can also meet influential figures from the time.
When is Day Of Reconciliation celebrated in 2023?
Day Of Reconciliation is observed on December 16 each year.