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Vorschlag A - "The turning point" by D. Tutu


Hinweis: Die Prozentangaben in Klammern zeigen die Gewichtung der einzelnen Aufgaben.

  1. Describe the atmosphere in South Africa on the day of the election in 1994. (Material) (30 %)
  2. Relate the last sentence from Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s text (“They just wanted their place in the sun.”) to the experiences of Hispanics or other minorities in the USA. (40 %)
  3. Write a letter to Archbishop Desmond Tutu commenting on the changes in South Africa from April 27, 1994 to today. (30 %) 



The people in South Africa had long been waiting for the day of free elections. After many years of suffering from apartheid and of having a minority reigning over a huge majority by means of terror, spying and racial segregation, the population could now vote democratically.

Everyone was excited, but anxious and nervous at the same time. None of the people could be sure of what would happen. Police were present to protect the peaceful voters from attacks by political enemies, some of whom had been responsible for bomb explosions at the airport and other places. They were vulnerable because police forces could not protect everyone. Just a simple trigger would have turned everything into disaster. Consequently, the people felt unsure.

Nevertheless, for the first time in their lives, men and women of all races and backgrounds came together singing and dancing and cheering, waiting to vote. They knew that they shared many common things with each other, like the wonderful atmosphere and the knowledge that skin colour didn’t matter at all. They were all the same, and they all wanted the same things: a decent home, a good job, a safe environment for their families, and good schools for their children. No one wanted revenge for what had happened, they all had one common idea: a peaceful and protected life.

Free elections would give the people of South Africa the chance to be heard. This is why they felt proud of what had been reached in their country. Apartheid was over, the first democratically elected president would be a black man.


A place in the sun metaphorically means that you can live peacefully and in harmony with everything and everyone around you. It is warm and comfortable; you do not need to worry about anything. There is no problem that needs to be solved, you can lean back and just relax.

This, of course, is just theory. Unfortunately, there is no such place in the world which provides just the sunny side of life. People are always confronted with troubles and decision-making, which may not be connected with pleasant reactions by others.

Referring to the given text, the people of South Africa just wanted to be part of society, they wanted a life worth living, without limitations, segregation and fear, but with hope for a future of which anyone could be an architect.

History has shown that founding a new country and establishing a political system go hand in hand with supressing those who are militarily inferior. Whether you take Australia, Africa or the Americas into consideration, indigenous peoples or ethnic minorities have suffered a lot.

Let us take a closer look at the Indians in what today is the USA. Before the European settlers arrived in 1620, the natives had lived their lives without worrying about foreigners coming and wanting to take possession of their land. Certainly there were different tribes who did not have peaceful ambitions towards each other. They fought and killed their enemies, but with the arrival of the white settlers, a time began which brought fear and terror to the people.

The Indians helped the settlers to survive the first hard winters in the new country. They met the newly arrived without any sentiments or hesitation. Nevertheless, after more and more people from Europe came over to the new continent, the settlers felt a need for more space and drove the indigenous people away from their homes. Beginning in 1830, the relocation of many Indian tribes, known as the Trail of Tears, forced Native Americans to move from their own land to a special Indian territory. Although the USA then tried out politics of assimilation, these attempts failed, which finally ended in Indians being forced to live in reservations. These places did not provide acceptable living conditions for the different tribes, for they did not have enough space to live, and many were forced to share the land with tribes whose language they did not even understand. Basic living conditions, like animals to hunt or fields to grow corn, were missing.  The white government prohibited them from speaking their mother tongue and from living according to their own culture.  For the Indians, the sun set and hardly ever rose over the next decades.

Only in 1924 were the American Indians given basic civil rights, including the right to vote. But it took until the 1960s for the development of the American Indian Movement which finally enabled the first representatives of Indian tribes to successfully sue the government for compensation for the expropriation of their land and the murder of their ancestors.

In 2009, the American President Barack Obama officially apologized for what the white settlers and their descendants had done to the native people over the past centuries.

In conclusion, you can say that the struggle of the American indigenous people exemplifies their fight for a place in the sun. They had lived their lives in peace until the white settlers came and drove them out of their homes and from their land. With and without weapons, they tried to push through their legitimate entitlements. They just wanted their place in the sun.


Dear Mr Tutu,

I am writing to you today to comment on the changes South Africa has gone through over the last two decades.

When the famous and internationally admired Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison after long years of suffering, but never having given up hope, I had just been born. Even today, I can hardly understand how, on the one hand, human beings can sentence someone to prison for such a long time, and on the other hand, how a man could survive such obvious injustice and torture.

I did not hear or learn much about South Africa when I was a child, but in school we were taught about the changes in your country. Our teachers explained the inhuman system of apartheid, under which the South African population had had to suffer for a long and tragic time. But this system was finally brought to an end, and gave your country and its people the chance to face one another and live in democracy.

The whole population, regardless of whether they were black or white or coloured, was given human and civil rights - which are now granted in your constitution.

The end of apartheid meant the inclusion of all people in public, social and political life, although this cannot yet be seen in every single aspect even today. Electricity was brought to the townships, roads were built. Consequently, even black people now had a chance to get closer to social life and to be part of the working community.

In addition, the races have come closer, and the dream of a non-racial and united South Africa has, at least theoretically, become reality. Basic aspects of life have developed. For example, since 1994, the number of people having access to water has increased by 9 million. Furthermore, South Africa provides free and compulsory education for every child.

The political system in South Africa seems to be a robust democracy, as you can find more than 20 political parties on the ballots. The elections are free; no citizen needs to fear anything when voting.

But in spite of everything that has been attained, one should not close one’s eyes to reality. In contrast to all the above-mentioned development, there is still a remnant of discrimination against black and coloured people.

Consider the huge black majority, most of which is still living in townships riddled with crime and poverty. Consider the bad health care or limited chances for a better or higher education. Early pregnancy is a big problem among black teenagers. The fact that South Africa’s government permanently denies the dangers of AIDS and HIV leads to a very large number of people dying from these diseases. As long as there is no concrete action against ignorance, as long as the truth continues to be hidden from both educated and uneducated people, as long as there is still corruption in government and public institutions, as long as officials make decisions which are unpopular, senseless, and to the disadvantage of the people , the situation in South Africa will not change completely for the better.

Mr Tutu, I really am thankful for having the chance to write you this letter. I wish you and your fellow citizens the will and the power to constantly work for the good of your country.

Sincerely yours,
Marie Meier

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