Apartheid in South Africa

Daphne, Courtney, and Natalie

Birth Of Apartheid

Birth of Apartheid - Apartheid is a policy or a system of segregation or discrimination because of one's race. Racial segregation and white supremacy had become central aspects of South African policy long before apartheid began. The controversial 1913 Land Act, passed three years after South Africa gained its independence, marked the beginning of territorial segregation by forcing black Africans to live in reserves and making it illegal for them to work as sharecroppers,a tenant farmer who gives a part of each crop as rent. Opponents of the Land Act formed the South African National Native Congress, which would become the African National Congress (ANC).

In one of the most devastating aspects of apartheid, the government forcibly removed black South Africans from rural areas designated as “white” to the homelands, and sold their land at low prices to white farmers. From 1961 to 1994, more than 3.5 million people were forcibly removed from their homes and was sent to the Bantustans, where they were plunged into poverty and hopelessness.

Apartheid Becomes Law

Apartheid Becomes Law - By 1950, the government had banned marriages between whites and people of other races, and prohibited sexual relations between black and white South Africans. The Population Registration Act of 1950 provided the basic framework for apartheid by classifying all South Africans by race, including Bantu (black Africans), Coloured (mixed race) and white. A fourth category, Asian (meaning Indian and Pakistani) was later added. In some cases, the legislation split families; parents could be classified as white, while their children were classified as colored.

Opposition To Apartheid

Opposition To Apartheid - Resistance to apartheid within South Africa took many forms over the years, from non-violent demonstrations, protests and strikes to political action and eventually to armed resistance. Together with the South Indian National Congress, the ANC organized a mass meeting in 1952, during which attendees burned their pass books. A group calling itself the Congress of the People adopted a Freedom Charter in 1955 asserting that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black or white.” The government broke up the meeting and arrested 150 people, charging them with high treason.

Nelson Mandela

• Was known as a “Champion of Freedom”

• Arrested in 1962, when convicted of conspiracy* to overthrow the state, he was sentenced to life in prison.

• He spent 27 years in prison and was released in 1990.

• Participated in the eradication* of apartheid

• In 1994 he became the first black president of South Africa

• He established a multiethnic government to supervise the country’s transition• Although retiring from politics in 1999, he remained a true champion for peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world

• Mandela passed in 2013 at the age of 95

*Conspiracy: a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful

*Eradication: the complete destruction of something

“Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.”-Nelson Mandela

“Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.” –Nelson Mandela

Apartheid Comes To An End

Apartheid Comes To An End -  In 1976, thousands of black children in Soweto (a black township outside of Johannesburg), demonstrated against the Africans language requirement for black African students, the police opened fire with tear gas and bullets. The protests and government breakdown was followed by an economic recession. This drew more international attention to South Africa and put an end to all illusions that apartheid had brought peace or prosperity to the nation. The United Nations General Assembly had denounced apartheid in 1973, and in 1976 the UN Security Council voted to impose a mandatory embargo on the sale of arms to South Africa. In 1985, the United kingdom and U.S. imposed economic sanctions on the country ( trying to force a political change).

After being under pressure from the international community, the National Party government of Pieter Botha sought to institute some reforms, including, abolition of the past laws and the ban on interracial sex and marriage. But the reforms fell short of any meaningful change, by the 1989 Botha was pressured to step aside in favor of F.W de Klerk. De Klerk’s government repealed the Population Registration Act, as well as most of the other legislation that formed the legal basis for apartheid. A new constitution which emancipated the backs and other racial groups, took effect in 1994, and elections that year led to a coalition government ( formed by multiple parties who must compromise) with a nonwhite majority, marking the official end of the apartheid system.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

I learned what Apartheid meant. And that Nelson Mandela was a Martin Luther King of the Apartheid. It was good information.

2 years ago

I learned all about Apartheid. Good facts and pictures.