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 Apartheid was the system of racial segregation developed in South Africa after World War II by the Afrikaner-dominated National Party - the governing party from 1948-1990 - and Broederbond organizations. Under apartheid the rights and movements of the majority black inhabitants and other ethnic groups were curtailed and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained. The ideology was also enforced in South West Africa, administered by South Africa until it gained independence as Namibia in 1990.

Apartheid reforms in the 1980s failed to quell mounting opposition, and in 1990 President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid, culminating in multi-racial democratic elections in 1994, won by the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela. The end of apartheid is widely regarded as dating from the 1994 democratic general election.