The third wave of democracy which brought Latin American dictatorships to an end during the 1980s also washed away the brutal apartheid system in South Africa. Although the country was technically a parliamentary democracy, it was also a ‘racial oligarchy.’ 1 It denied the majority of its people the right to vote or participate in the system, and black South Africans could not be elected to parliament or vote in the same elections as white voters because they were restricted to voting in elections in Bantustans. 2 The National Party, which had been in power for most of the post-war period, maintained a powerful grip on the system and had at its head President P. W. Botha, known as Die Groot Krokodil (Afrikaans for ‘the Great Crocodile’) on account of his tough stance and fierce temper. The African National Congress (ANC), the main organised opposition to apartheid outside of parliament, was banned and therefore limited in its ability to challenge the system, and Nelson Mandela, arguably the world’s most famous political prisoner, was incarcerated on Robben Island (he spent 18 of the 27 years of his imprisonment here). At the start of the 1980s, there was little reason to think that anything much would change, as the system appeared to be strong while the opposition operated in difficult and hostile circumstances.