Apartheid in South Africa How would you feel if when you came to school, you had to sit in a specific area based on, let’s say the colour of your hair. This would mean that who you associate with would be based on these characteristic. My topic is very vast as it is spanned over 46 years so today I’m going to touch on the side that follows the way the blacks were forced to live and how they were seen as lesser human beings. To put it simply it was due to a long history of settler rule as well as Dutch and British colonialism.
The essential thinking behind apartheid was that although South Africa was a unitary nation, it was comprised of four racial groups. This sparked internal resistance to which the government responded with detention without trial and torture. Whites in their own eyes were seen as sophisticated and therefore entitled to rule South Africa. So to begin at the beginning, during the lead up to the 1948 elections the national party began to campaign their ideas on Apartheid and began to pass legislation on their laws shortly after to coming onto power.
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Classifying individuals began by segregating everyone into black, white coloured or Indian. Those in the coloured group included those of Bantu and European descent. Officials would perform tests to determine which group someone belonged to and often members of the same family ended up in different groups. The East Asian population was the hardest to classify because the just didn’t seem to fit into any group. The descendants of the chinese who came to Johannesburg in the late 19th century were classified as Indian and hence, non-white.
In contrast, immigrants of Japan and South Korea were considered honorary whites and were given the title “worthy oriental gentlemen” and given the same privileges as whites. In South Africa under apartheid, the blacks were stripped of their citizenships and became one one 10 homelands. The natives were discriminated against and legislation stated where and how they should live, work, educate and mingle. In 1949 mixed marriages were prohibited between racial groups. Then in 1953 the separate amenities act was passed which ultimately created separate ospitals, beaches, buses, schools and universities. Signs outlined things clearly with wording such as “whites only” which applied to nearly everything, even park benches. The government then tightened existing laws forcing South Africans to carry identity cards stipulating their racial group, which prevented the migration of blacks into white South Africa. Blacks were prohibited from living in or visiting white towns without a permit. The Travelling without a pass meant that a person was subject to arrest. Blacks were not allowed to buy liquor, only a specific type of beer.
In 1952 a program of action was launched. By defying laws, a black organisation aimed for mass arrests which the government would be unable to cope with. At one stage Nelson Mandela lead a crowd of 50 men down the streets of a white town. After that, across the country black people disregarded racial laws by doing things such as walking through white only entries. By the end of the campaign the government had made 8,000 arrests and was forced to relax its apartheid laws but eventually came back stronger than ever.
The suppression of communism act arose and Mandela was one of 20 tried under the law and received 9 month imprisonment and 2 years suspended sentence. A large amount of white South Africans supported the apartheid laws but it is important to remember that between the 1970’s and 1980’s around 20% of voters were opposed. Violence persisted right through to the 1994 elections… People had to cast two votes, one for a national government and another for a provincial government. As part of the new government structure each province was given a degree of political power.
This meant that not all decisions were made by the National Government. The government of national unity was established and the cabinet was made up of 12 ANC reps, 6 from the national party and 3 from another. Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected president. Since then the 27th of April is celebrated as a public holiday known as freedom day. www. un. org/av/photo/subjects/apartheid. htm http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Apartheid www-cs-students. stanford. edu/~cale/cs201/apartheid. hist. html