Friday, April 26, 2013
April 27 is a public holiday in South Africa known as Freedom Day. It commemorates the country's first democratic elections in 1994 following the end of apartheid. These were the first national elections where the exercise of the right of franchise did not depend on race.
Divestment and other economic sanctions are widely believed to have contributed to the end of apartheid in South Africa. The United Nations General Assembly called for economic sanctions in Resolution 1761 as early as 1962, but some Western powers, most notably the United Kingdom with support from the United States, lacked the political will to take action at that time. Transnational civil society increased pressure for action, ultimately leading the United States and other governments to impose trade and financial sanctions and divestment measures in the 1980s. These sanctions created economic difficulties for the South African government and have been credited with helping to bring about the democratic transition in South Africa.