About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

National Party (NP)

Formed in Bloemfontein in 1914, the National Party (NP) aimed to serve Afrikaner interests. It gained some ground as the senior partner in a Pact government from 1924, but in 1934 was obliged to fuse with Smuts's South African Party* to form the United Party*. After a difference of opinion on whether or not South Africa should assist Britain in the Second World War, Smuts and the United Party retained control until 1948. In 1948, in a surprise result, Smuts lost the election and D.F. Malan, a Cape-based, republican-minded politician, took over power and reintroduced the National Party name. In the 1950s particularly, and then in the three decades that followed, a massive number of discriminatory, segregationist measures were introduced to entrench white supremacy. But this could not last indefinitely in the face of a determined liberation struggle by the oppressed majority. F.W. de Klerk NP leader from 1989 to 1994 became one of the architects of the negotiated settlement. In 1990 the NP unbanned the ANC* and other restricted organizations and Nelson Mandela was released from prison. De Klerk played a leading role in the negotiations that followed. In the historic first democratic election in 1994 the NP lost the election and the ANC assumed control. The National Party has since faded into obscurity.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.