Botha, Pieter Willem
Botha, Pieter Willem(pē`tər vĭl`əm bō`tə), 1916–2006, South African political leader. An Afrikaner and a member of the right-wing National party, he first entered parliament in 1948. Botha gained prominence as minister of defense (1966–80) and became prime minister in 1978. He initiated a limited reform of apartheidapartheid
[Afrik.,=apartness], system of racial segregation peculiar to the Republic of South Africa, the legal basis of which was largely repealed in 1991–92. History
..... Click the link for more information. policies, establishing a new constitution that provided legislative chambers for whites, Coloureds (persons of mixed race), and Asians but excluded the black majority; under it, he became executive president in 1984. While hinting at the possibility of dismantling apartheid, and beginning negotiations with Nelson MandelaMandela, Nelson Rolihlahla
, 1918–2013, South African statesman. He earned a degree (B.A., 1943) after being expelled from the University College of Fort Hare (for taking part in a student protest) and finishing his studies with the Univ.
..... Click the link for more information. , he promoted the bantustanbantustan,
in 20th-century South African history, territory that was set aside under apartheid for black South Africans and slated for eventual independence. Ten bantustans (later generally referred to as homelands), covering 14% of the country's land, were created from the
..... Click the link for more information. (homelands) policy, violently repressed dissent, encouraged tribal rivalries within the country, and actively destabilized neighboring nations, particularly those that harbored African National CongressAfrican National Congress
(ANC), the oldest black (now multiracial) political organization in South Africa; founded in 1912. Prominent in its opposition to apartheid, the organization began as a nonviolent civil-rights group.
..... Click the link for more information. forces. Reelected in 1987, he resigned over party differences in 1989 and was succeeded by F. W. de Klerkde Klerk, F. W.
(Frederik Willem de Klerk) , 1936–, South African statesman, president of South Africa (1989–94). Holding ministerial posts from 1978, he became (1989) acting president when P. W. Botha resigned.
..... Click the link for more information. . His 1998 contempt conviction for refusing to testify before the Truth Commission regarding apartheid-era crimes was overturned by an appeals court.
See Fighter and Reformer: Extracts from the Speeches of P. W. Botha (1989); B. Pottinger, The Imperial Presidency: P. W. Botha, the First 10 Years (1988).