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The Apartheid of Music in South Africa Essay

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The question presented, concerning the South African apartheid and the music that was involved with the movements, debates whether the music came from the people’s desire to over come apartheid or if the music was a catalyst to the movement. As explained in the movie, the people used music for different aspects of the music, fundamentally a different song for every part of the movement. The music was a way in which the people could express themselves in a way that was noticed by their over rulers and which included all people taking part in the revolution.
Apartheid essentially aimed at keeping non-white communities from thriving in any way, through racial segregation. Amandla! Focuses on the apartheid that took place in South Africa, primarily from 1948 to 1994 (1). This segregation was headed by the National Party government, which was run by a group of Afrikaner nationalists. The National Party government segregated non-whites into contained, separate neighborhoods, which were generally in very poor condition with strict laws. These laws prohibited non-white South Africans to come in contact with white South Africans through separate facilities. One law required non-whites to carry passbooks to restrict their presence in white areas.
As Amadla! focuses on, non-whites who were affected by the apartheid laws created a large amount of songs of various categories during the National Party’s rule. These songs were used during marches and protests, such as the burning of the passbooks, as a more peaceful revolt against segregation laws. The songs each expressed their views and thoughts of the National Party, for example the lyrics in Ndodemnyama that specifically called against Hendrik Verwoerd (2), the South African Prime Minist...


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...xpress the people’s feelings against segregation in a peaceful, unharmful way. Based on this and how each piece of music covered different parts of the long fight against apartheid, I believe this music emerged as a result of the resistance rather than creating a catalyst for it. The people had a goal to take away the National Party’s power and they initially showed such through expressing their ideas verbally, with speeches and protests by leaders, such as Vuyilsile Mimi. From this, non-white South Africans began creating music to express their ideas more clearly and in a more noticeable, non-violent approach.



Works Cited

(1)"Apartheid." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 02 Apr. 2014. Web. 04 Feb. 2014.

(2)"Apartheid." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2014.

(3)"Woodstock." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 02 May 2014. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.



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