The major impact of apartheid on world history has come not from the time when the system existed but rather from the time that it was abolished. The fall of apartheid represented one of the greatest triumphs for human rights in the 20th century.
Apartheid was a system that brutalized non-whites in South Africa for decades. It denied them many things that are seen as basic human rights. Because of this, it can be seen as a major evil. However, the fall of apartheid was a great triumph for good and an uplifting story. The moral force of anti-apartheid activists such as Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela were finally able to wear down white resistance to reform. When apartheid finally fell, it was an accomplishment similar to that of Gandhi in India or the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.