What Changes Did Nelson Mandela Make?

Nelson Mandela made many changes to South African society, most notably by transitioning the country away from the racist policy of apartheid. Apartheid was a government policy that kept white Afrikaners in South Africa at the top of politics and business while limiting the rights of black citizens. As the first post-apartheid president, Nelson Mandela created a diverse society in which every citizen is equal before the law.

Mandela also made budgetary changes in his country to address the inequities of apartheid. He allocated funding to improve sewers and houses in disadvantaged areas, passed legislation allowing people to reclaim land stolen from them and increased welfare payments. Another change that Mandela made was his approach to post-colonial racial relations. Unlike leaders in other parts of Africa, like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who nurtured racial grievances and divested their countries’ white communities of much of their former wealth through both legal and extra-legal means, Mandela pursued a policy of reconciliation. He created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to allow apartheid’s victims to discuss their treatment publicly and to allow apartheid’s perpetrators to take responsibility for their actions, often in exchange for amnesty. This helped heal the wounds of apartheid and allowed the country to begin to get beyond the racial strife to form a more powerful, united country capable of prospering in the 21st century.