In 1963 President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed by an assassin in Dallas, Texas. The shooting and death of the President marked a tragic era in our history. The assassination of the President was still fresh in the minds of many People, not just in the United States but around the globe. With the Country still reeling from the tragic loss of arguably the most beloved President of modern history, another tragic assassination took place.
Only 1 year after Jim Crow Laws were abolished in the United States the Prime Minister of South Africa was assassinated by a white man for implementing similar laws. It would have been great if Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd could have lived longer so he could have seen how much of a failure apartheid was. The apartheid laws did work the way they were intended to, which is to keep blacks and whites separated. Although apartheid in and of itself is disgusting, it also held back many dark skinned South Africans who could have potentially cured a form of cancer, invented new things to benefit mankind as whole, and many other things.
Apartheid had been used for many years on the Continent of Africa, but it was not until 1948 that apartheid became a part of the law. Apartheid was legal until the early 1990’s and was apartheid was not considered over until 1994 when a general election was held that also included black people. The winner was Nelson Mandela who was the first truly elected democratic leader in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was black, but he also had a lot of support from young whites who wanted to see apartheid ended.
Nelson Mandela was considered a great leader and was even compared to John F. Kennedy. We may never have had Nelson Mandela as a leader if it was not for Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd pushing for apartheid laws.
The assassination of Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd had a profound effect on the cultural and political environments that dealt with the laws regarding the perceived benefits of segregation of blacks from the whites.
Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd was a trained and well-educated Psychologist. He came to National prominence when he traveled around South Africa fighting for welfare for the poor. Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd was notable because he only fought for welfare for white people and not the blacks.
Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd was born in the Netherlands and that helped him to gain the support of the White Afrikaners. The Afrikaners were descendents of immigrants who were originally from the Netherlands, France, and other Countries. The support of the Afrikaners helped propel Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd to a win in the 1958 election. Then Prime Minister J.G. Strijdon died suddenly and this propelled Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd into the leadership of South Africa and enabled him to push for stricter laws for segregating the blacks from the whites.
Although the media initially reported that the assassin was white, he was actually of mixed race. The assassin was Dimitri Tsafendas who was taunted and called “Blackie” when he was a child. Because of the taunting that the other kids did to Dimitri Tsafendas when he was a child it stuck with him. He assassinated Minister H.F. Verwoerd. Because of taunting Tsafendas received as a child he killed the head of the South African White Separatist movement and because of these actions we eventually got the black leader Nelson Mandela elected and the apartheid laws overturned.
Today conditions in South Africa for blacks are not ideal, but they are much better than we use to have for them. Conditions here in the United States are also much better then they use to be during the Jim Crow Laws days, but again racism is still evident in all walks of our society.
We have however came a long way here in the United States with the election of our first President who is half black and half white. The assassination of John F. Kennedy led to an entire new history for the United States which eventually included the election of Barack Obama as the President. Although assassinations of leaders can be tragic regardless of their political ideologies, it is important to remember that overtime everything will work out for the better.
In 1960 H.F. Verwoerd was shot in the face by a wealthy white farmer. Verwoerd was rushed to the hospital and the bullets were removed. He was ok, but how would history have been different if he had been killed that day? Would Nelson Mandela eventually become the leader of South Africa and would Barack Obama have become the President of the United States? Probably not.