The word Apartheid derives from Afrikaans language and it stands for “apartness” or “separation”. Apartheid was a political system based on racial separation between whites and blacks. A white minority crushed the rights of a black majority. It came true in South Africa from 1948 to 1993, by the National Party. Not only blacks, but also coloureds and Asians suffered separation.
The government created special areas and territories reserved to black Africans. The mixed marriages were prohibited. Education was denied to prevent the possibility to aspire any position in white society.
The greater opponent of the Apartheid was Nelson Mandela, one of the founders of the African National Congress (ANC). He carried out a campaign of protest and resistance against the Apartheid regime. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1962. After 28 years, he was released and assumed the leadership of the ANC. He led negotiations with the government, supported by the president De Klerk. In 1993, they both shared the Nobel Peace Prize, for their efforts in establishing democracy and social harmony in South Africa. In May 1994, for the first time, all South Africans were able to vote. Nelson Mandela won those elections and became the first black President of South Africa, a position which he held until he retired in 1999.