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A controversial concept, since the moment of apartheid’s demise is open to much debate. However, it generally refers to the rather indeterminate period after 1990 (for which the release of Mandela was the symbolic point), though some use it to refer to the period from about 1988 (when negotiations had begun in earnest), while others limit it to the period of full democracy (i.e. from 1994 onwards). There are also those who claim apartheid still exists, hence there is no "post-apartheid" period yet.

Late apartheid

The fact is, the fall of apartheid was not sudden, but quite a drawn out process of negotiation and aggressive deal-making by many role-players, even some of the more despised nationalist leaders and ministers.

To avoid the pitfalls of the term Post-apartheid and to refer to the various stages many terms were created to hedge bets and/or be more specific when talking about that late transitional or interregnum period between about 1987 and 1994, when apartheid regulations had in fact lapsed, or were largely ignored, while the negotiations were taking place between the NP, the ANC and other parties.

Among them:


A popular expression at one time, to signal the adoption of formal changes, while fundamental change had not yet come.


A coinage of Loren Kruger, 1999, p191), ***

The New South Africa or the new democracy

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