Letter: Feuding, fading Afrikaners; touching moment on screen; and all South Africa's children

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The Independent Online
Sir: John Carlin('It's like falling in love', 27 April) presents the collapse of minority rule in South Africa as calculated, but the destruction of apartheid cannot be written without mentioning the defeat of the South African Defence Force (SADF) at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola in 1988 by the combined forces of Angola and Cuba. When the body bags began arriving in South Africa, senior officers knew that the only option left was the negotiating table.

The myth around the SADF was broken here. Coupled with the internal struggles of South Africa, and the external pressure, this battlefield defeat made negotiations possible. It made the independence of Namibia possible and consequently this week's historic elections. To write

. . . apartheid , unlike the Berlin Wall, has undergone a calculated collapse. Mr Mandela began it with his secret talks with the government while he was still in prison in the late Eighties . . .

is a bit simplistic.

Yours sincerely,


London, N1