`` Invictus `` And The Rainbow Nation 's Soul Essay

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Sitting inside a barren prison cell, six miles off the coast of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela, famed political prisoner, took comfort in William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus” and recited to himself “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” Several decades later, on May 10, 1994, that same prisoner stood in front of his country and was inaugurated as its first black president, becoming the master of South Africa’s fate and the captain of the rainbow nation’s soul. That eventful day signaled more than a leadership change; it signaled the end of apartheid and the birth of a democracy. South Africa’s path to democracy was influenced by economic and political factors.
The economic interests of the masses and elites sparked the events that led to democratization negotiations, which were contingent on the relationships of the political actors involved. In 1948, as the second wave of democratization swept the globe, South Africa delved deeper into autocracy, creating a single party authoritarian regime with the election of the National Party and the institutionalization of apartheid (Huntington 16; Thompson 187). Under apartheid, Afrikaners took control, and all non-whites lost the right to vote and were segregated in the nation’s schools, jobs, and residential areas (Thompson 187-195). This outraged Africans, causing small, non-violent demonstrations in the 1950s (Ferree 2016). Despite the protests’ peaceful nature, President P.W. Botha responded with aggression…

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