A key turning point in recent South African history took place from 1987-90. By this time important overtures to peace had already been made.
In 1987 a powerful non-government delegation held talks with the ANC in Dakar. In 1988 Nelson Mandela, who was still in prison, issued an invitation to the government to negotiate an end to apartheid. By early 1989 the non-racial mass democratic movement had swelled and returned to the streets. Then in August 1989 F W de Klerk replaced the hardline P W Botha as president. Within months he had decided the only way forward was to release Nelson Mandela and to unban the ANC, PAC, SACP and other political organisations.