1990 in South Africa
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|1990 in South Africa|
|1987 1988 1989 « 1990 » 1991 1992 1993|
- 2 February – In his speech at the opening of Parliament, State President FW de Klerk announces the beginning of the negotiated transition to end apartheid. The speech announced the unbanning of the African National Congress, Pan Africanist Congress and the Communist Party, the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, and the end of the state of emergency.
- 3 February – Rainbow People's March, a small group of demonstrators express support for the new South Africa by dancing down Adderley Street with a painting by artist, Beezy Bailey.
- 11 February – Nelson Mandela released from jail after serving 27 years.
- 4 March – Brigadier Oupa Gqozo of the Ciskei Defence Force leads a coup in the homeland of Ciskei
- 12 March – African National Congress president Oliver Tambo and vice-president Nelson Mandela meet for the first time in 28 years in Sweden
- 21 March – Namibia gains independence with the United Nations supervising the withdraw of South African forces and the first elections
- 26 March – The Minister of Education Piet Clase announces that as of January 1991, the segregation of Whites and Blacks in state run schools is no more
- 11 people are killed and more than 300 injured when police open fire on protesters in Sebokeng
- 1 April – The South African Transport Services is transformed into Transnet and the South African Rail Commuter Corporation
- 16 April – Nelson Mandela thanks the world in the Wembley Stadium, London, for support during his imprisonment
- 25 April – Dirk Coetzee, former South African Police Commander of the Vlakplaas counter-insurgency unit, testifies at the Harms commission
- 28 April – Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest and social activist, loses both of his hands and an eye when a letter bomb explodes in his hands
- 2–4 May – The Groote Schuur Minute is signed after talks between the South African government and the African National Congress in Groote Schuur, Cape Town
- 6 May – Pieter Willem Botha resigns from the National Party in protest against the State President of South Africa Frederik Willem de Klerk's reform proposals
- 4 June – Nelson Mandela starts a thirteen-nation international tour
- 5 June – Colonel Gabriel Ramushwana, Chairman of the Venda Council for National Unity, announces the lifting of the state of emergency and the unconditional release of all political prisoners in Venda
- 7 June – President FW de Klerk lifts the state of emergency in South Africa after 10 years in place
- 1 August – African National Congress's armed wing, the Umkhonto we Sizwe, suspends its armed actions after 29 years
- 6 August – The Pretoria Minute is signed after talks between the South African government and the African National Congress in Pretoria
- 11 September – 7 political prisoners are released
- 23–25 September – [Frederik Willem de Klerk], State President of South Africa visits Washington on a state visit
- 27 September – 14 political prisoners are released
- 15 October – The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act is repealed, ending racial segregation of public facilities
- 19 October – The National Party opens its membership to all races
- 4 November – South Africa announced that Harry Schwarz, a prominent anti-apartheid campaigner in Parliament, would be its next ambassador to the United States. He is the first serving politician from the opposition ranks to be appointed to a senior ambassadorial post in South African history.
- 14–16 December – The African National Congress hold a national consultative conference in Johannesburg
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- 16 January – Paedophile Gert van Rooyen shoots his accomplice and lover, Joey Haarhoff then commits suicide soon after a police chase
- 20 January – Thomas Mandlenkosi (Mshengu) Shabalala, an Inkatha Freedom Party National Council member is shot dead outside his house in Lindelani's C Section, also known as eMadamini, near KwaMashu, Durban
- 1 May – Jackie Matjili, Umkhonto we Sizwe member, is shot dead in Thokoza
- 13 June – Sipho Phungulwa, who was part of a group of exiles who were held in African National Congress detention camps in Angola, is shot dead in Umtata while trying to seek an audience with the Transkei ANC leadership to expose the hardships they had endured in Angola. Ndibulele Ndzamela, Mfanelo Matshaya and Pumlani Kubukeli are later granted amnesty on 13 August 1998 in connection with this incident.