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Mandela and the last Afrikaner leaders: A shift in power relations
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The stability of the apartheid system and the Afrikaners’ monopoly of power have been the subject of exhaustive scholarly analyses; by contrast, there have been few in-depth analyses of the unexpected transfer of power by the National Party government between 1989 and 1994.There is a strong tendency to present the Afrikaner leadership from Hendrik Verwoerd to PW Botha as being so beholden to the apartheid ideology and so intransigent that they missed all opportunities to negotiate a more balanced political settlement. Virtually no attention has been given to the informal attempts the leadership on both sides made to initiate talks about an alternative to white supremacy. The treatment of Nelson Mandela in the literature represents almost the complete opposite to that of the NP leaders. He has been presented as strongly committed to a nonracial democracy and a market-oriented economy. A reassessment of Nelson Mandela’s career has only just begun.