Apartheid Notes Apartheid was a political system in South Africa, which was in use in the 20th century, mainly between the 1940s and the 1980s. In the system, the people of South Africa were divided by their race. Even though black people were the majority in the country, a small number of white people ruled them and held most political offices. Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life.
It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a bath room, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home Racism first arose out of the white desire to exploit black people economically – and it is maintained today for much the same reasons. We cannot understand racism without looking back into history. Racism emerged out of the rise in the slave trade in the eighteenth century. Black people could be bought and sold like property and treated – or maltreated – as their owners wished, because they were regarded as something less than human.
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The basis for this idea already existed in European culture in general and in Catholicism in particular, which held that those who were not believers in the ‘one, true church’ were inferior beings. Around this in the era of slavery a whole system of beliefs was erected which attempted to prove that blacks were less intelligent than whites, with smaller brains and a capacity only for manual labour. They were seen, moreover, as uncivilised and barbaric. The existence of the great black civilisations has been hidden from history – right down to the present day.