Striking a Grand Deal

Mandela and De Klerk shake on a constitution

Bleary-eyed as the clock ticked past midnight, the negotiators bargained over final details. At last, nine hours late, 19 men ascended the podium in the cavernous convention center and signed, one by one, a draft constitution giving equal rights to South Africans of every color. The last-minute delay was nothing to blacks who had waited generations for this moment. "We have reached the end of an era," declared a triumphant Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress. President F.W. de Klerk agreed: "South Africa will never be the same again."

That is the hope. The new law of the land...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!