The Rainbow Nation

Emerged on 17 June 1991 when apartheid legislation was repealed
Emerged on 17 June 1991 when apartheid legislation was repealed

The dismantling of apartheid began

The “Rainbow Nation” emerged on 17 June 1991 when apartheid legislation was repealed, followed by South Africa’s first fully free elections a few years later.

For more than 40 years, the country had laboured under a cruel system that denigrated people based on physical appearance, tore families apart and constructed a society riven by bitter divisions. Contact between groups of different races was effectively banned at every level of society and elaborate structures, both physical and social, contrived to keep people apart, which sapped the country of growth and undermined social cohesion fatally.  
The rainbow nation is born

Consistent pressure, both internal and external, finally forced the end of the heartless system, but at a huge price to life and liberty.

Extensive negotiations forged one of the world’s most progressive constitutions, which underpins the vigorous and engaged civil society that is unmistakably South Africa in 2020. Today, while living with the challenges presented by the vestiges of apartheid, South Africa has continued to meet multiple challenges with courage and humour. 
One of the world’s most progressive constitutions created the vigorous and engaged civil society that is unmistakably South Africa in 2020

Key facts

205 schools

As the new school year began in January 1991, black children were admitted to 205 schools previously reserved for whites only, where parents had voted in favour of racial integration.

17 June 1991

saw the repeal of Apartheid legislation.

On 11 February 1990

Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison after more than 27 years behind bars.

21 years

South Africa was readmitted to the international cricket stage by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1991 after a 21 year ban.

9 July

In response to the end of Apartheid, the International Olympic Committee readmits South Africa to the Olympics.