Botha, P. W.


Botha, P. W.

▪ state president of South Africa
in full  Pieter Willem Botha 
born Jan. 12, 1916, Paul Roux, S.Af.
died Oct. 31, 2006, Wilderness, near George

      prime minister (1978–84) and first state president (1984–89) of South Africa.

      A native of the Orange Free State, he studied law at the University of Orange Free State at Bloemfontein from 1932 to 1935 but left without graduating. Already active in politics in his teens, he moved to Cape Province at age 20 to become a full-time organizer for the National Party. He was elected to Parliament in the National landslide of 1948. By 1958 he was deputy minister of the interior, and thereafter (1961–80) he was successively minister of commercial development, Coloured affairs, public works, and defense. He succeeded to the prime ministry upon the resignation of B.J. Vorster in 1978.

      Botha's government faced serious foreign and domestic difficulties. The coming to power of black governments in Mozambique, Angola, and Zimbabwe gave new energy to black South African nationalists and the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO). Other developments led to frequent black student and labour unrest in South Africa itself, especially in 1980. Botha responded with a military policy that included frequent South African raids combined with support for antigovernment groups in the border states, seeking to weaken the Angolan, Mozambican, and Zimbabwean governments. Botha also refused to withdraw from Namibia, though he continued negotiations on the question.

      He combined this foreign policy with a program of reforms at home—such as the policy of granting “independence” to various black homelands—that were meant at once to mollify international public opinion while dividing his nonwhite domestic opposition. A key point in this program was the promulgation of a new constitution, which granted very limited powers to Asians and Coloureds but which made no concessions to the black majority. Though the proposed reforms maintained white supremacy, to which Botha was fully committed, the right wing of the National Party split away in protest in 1982 to form the Conservative Party. Botha was still able to get the constitution passed by referendum of whites in 1983. The following year he was elected under the new constitution as state president by an electoral college selected from the racially segregated, white-dominated Parliament. During his term in office, Botha sought (with limited success) to find some middle ground between those who fully supported apartheid and the increasingly frustrated and militant nonwhite population; although his actions alienated many National Party supporters, they were not enough to appease those seeking the end of apartheid. Early in 1989 Botha fell ill and resigned his post as party leader, but he did not yield the presidency until he faced opposition not only from the National Party but from within his own Cabinet. He was succeeded by F.W. de Klerk (de Klerk, F.W.), who introduced radical policy changes that led to the dismantling of the apartheid system and paved the way for the country's first multiracial elections in 1994.

      In 1995 a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in South Africa to review atrocities committed during the apartheid years. Botha was summoned before the commission in 1997 but refused to participate. He was fined and received a suspended sentence, which was later appealed and overturned.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Botha — is a surname, especially common among white Afrikaners in South Africa. People named Botha include:*Louis Botha (1862 1919), first Prime Minister of South Africa *Pieter Willem Botha (1916 2006), also known as P.W. , South African prime minister… …   Wikipedia

  • Botha — ist ein vor allem in Südafrika innerhalb der Bevölkerungsgruppe der Buren verbreiteter Familienname. Die Namensträger können meist ihre Herkunft von den Einwanderern Friedrich Both (* 1653 in Wangenheim bei Gotha) oder Samuel Friedrich Bode (*… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Botha — Botha,   1) Louis, südafrikanischer General und Politiker, * Greytown (Natal) 27. 9. 1862, ✝ Pretoria 28. 8. 1919; befehligte im Burenkrieg (1899 1902) 1900 02 burische Verbände in Nordtransvaal. Nach der Kapitulation der Buren trat er für deren… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Botha — Botha, Louis, Burengeneral, geb. 27. Sept. 1862 als Sohn eines »Voortrekkers« aus franz. Geschlecht und einer holländ. Afrikanerin (van Rooijen), kämpfte 1884 unter den Freiwilligen, die sich in den Zulukriegen Land erwarben, und war dort bis… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Botha — (Louis) (1862 1919) général et homme politique sud africain. Commandant en chef de l armée des Boers (1899 1902), il fut Premier ministre du Transvaal (1907 1910), puis de l Union sud africaine (1910 1919). Botha (Pieter Willem) (né en 1916)… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Botha — Botha, Louis, Burenführer, geb. 1864 in Greytown (Natal), 1888 Mitglied des Volksraads der Südafrik. Republik, im Südafrik. Kriege zuerst Adjutant Lukas Meyers, dann Kommandant der Belagerungsarmee vor Ladysmith, schlug die Engländer bei Colenso… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Botha — Botha, Louis …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Botha — [bō′tə] Louis 1862 1919; South African statesman: 1st prime minister (1910 19) …   English World dictionary

  • Botha —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie des personnes (réelles ou fictives) partageant un même patronyme. Botha est un patronyme très courant en Afrique du Sud. Il est le nom de famille de diverses personnalités de ce pays, tels que : Andre… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Botha, P W — ▪ 2007 “Die Groot Krokodil”; “The Great Crocodile”        South African politician (b. Jan. 12, 1916, Paul Roux, Orange Free State, S.Af. d. Oct. 31, 2006, Wilderness, near George, Western Cape, S.Af.), as prime minister (1978–84) and president… …   Universalium


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