Baylor College Medical School

153 3. Struggles In Africa

153 2. In the 1950s and 1960s, many new nations won independence in Africa. Several other African nations suffered internal conflicts and civil wars. In 1910, South Africa achieved self-rule from Britain. Most civil rights, however, were limited to white settlers. The black majority had few rights under a legal system of racial segregation called apartheid. Under apartheid, nonwhites faced many restrictions. FOR EXAMPLE, LAWS BANNED MARRIAGES BETWEEN RACES AND STIPULATED SEGREGATED RESTAURANTS, BEACHES AND SCHOOLS.

The African National Congress (ANC) opposed apartheid and led the struggle for majority rule. In 1960 police gunned down 69 people during a protest in Sharpeville, a black township. The government then outlawed the ANC. Nelson Mandela, an ANC leader, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In the 1980s,, international demands for an end to apartheid and for Mandela's release increased. In 1984, Bishop Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent opposition to apartheid. In 1990, South African president F.W. de Klerk ended apartheid and freed Mandela, who was elected president in 1994.

South Africa's neighbors also experienced long conflicts to attain independence. Portugal granted independence to Angola and Mozambique in 1975. South Africa and the United States saw the new nations as threats because some liberation leaders had ties to the ANC or the Soviet Union.

After independence, ethnic conflicts plagued many nations. Historic resentments divided nations, and regional rivalries fed ethnic violence. In Rwanda, one of Africa's deadliest wars occurred. There, the Hutus were the majority, but the minority Tuttsis dominated the country. In 1994, extremist Hutus slaughtered about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Another 3 million Rwandans lost their homes. In response, world leaders pledged to stop genocide wherever it may occur. Their power to do this, however, was limited. In Sudan, non-Muslim, non-Arab rebels in the south battled Arab Muslims from the north. This war, drought, and famine caused millions of deaths. Finally, southern rebels signed a peace agreement in 2004. In the same year, however, ethnic conflict spread to Darfur in western Sudan. This conflict raised fears of a new genocide.


3. Which two African countries gained independence from Portugal?

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Portugal granted independence to Angola and Mozambique in 1975.