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Bombs hit whites-only South African school poised to admit blacks

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Six bombs exploded and destroyed a whites-only school Wednesday that was poised to admit black students, police said. No casualties were reported.

While there was no claim of responsibility, the bombing of the high school 200 miles east of Johannesburg was the latest in a wave of such attacks, apparently the work of right-wing whites determined to fight for a return to South Africa's apartheid days.

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Bombs have targeted schools and shopping centers, mainly those used by South Africa's English-speaking whites, who are perceived by extremist Afrikaans speakers as being behind racial reforms.

The half-dozen bombs caused an estimated $780,000 worth of damage at Lowveld High School in the heavily conservative Nelspruit area, police said.

It recently became the first whites-only school in the Nelspruit area to decide to admit non-whites in the wake of the abolition last year of all remaining apartheid laws in South Africa and revisions to the country's educational system.

Reportedly, the decision to admit 40 blacks this year provoked furious protest from whites in the area and from governors of other schools, who threatened to withdraw from Eastern Transvaal high school sports events if their pupils had to compete against blacks.

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The bombing of the school focused on its sports facilities, radio reports said.

The attack came less than 24 hours after reform-minded President Frederik de Klerk assured black South Africans he intended to push the abolition of race laws to their ultimate conclusion and create a country in which 'all South Africans will be first-class citizens.'

African National Congress President Nelson Mandela predicted this week 1992 would see passage of a new constitution giving power to the black majority.

Mandela and de Klerk promised to allay the fears of minority whites about their post-apartheid future. There are about 5 million whites among South Africa's 37 million citizens.

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