In 1976 a revolt in Soweto against the substandard educational system spread like wildfire throughout the country, on the heels of a new black consciousness movement set up under the guidance of Steve Biko. The arrest and killing of Biko in police custody created a fresh outburst of public anger.
States of Emergency first brought in after Sharpeville, and repeated in 1976 and 1985, proved less and less effective. The liberation of Africa had reached South Africa’s border with the end of the Rhodesian War and the collapse of colonial Mocambique. International trade and armaments boycotts escalated with the involvement of South African troops in war on the Angolan border.
At the beginning of the 1990’s, following the end of the Cold War, the withdrawal of proxy forces from southern Africa and the independence of Namibia, President F. W. de Klerk (who succeeded Botha) set about unbanning the ANC and SA Communist Party, releasing Mandela from prison, and entering into negotiations over a new political dispensation for the country