Apartheid Museum

On the Brink

When the ANC, PAC, SACP and other political organisations were unbanned in February 1990, South Africa stood on the brink.

On the one side lay a descent into political anarchy, on the other a painful process of negotiation and compromise. This exhibit documents the struggle that resulted. Television monitors screen footage of the main political actors' responses to the events that took place between February 1990 and the elections in April 1994. Also screened are scenes of the background violence against which negotiations took place. During this period, 14 000 South Africans died in political violence — several times more than had died in the previous four decades. Some of the decommissioned weapons used in these conflicts form part of the exhibit.

Quick Facts

  • More people died in political violence from 1990 to 1994 than from 1948 to 1990.
  • Violence between ANC and IFP supporters was stoked by a ‘Third Force’ supported by forces within the apartheid state.
  • The largest bomb in South African history was detonated by right-wing Afrikaners in the centre of Johannesburg on 24 April 1994, killing nine and injuring 92.
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