Apartheid in South Africa
Length: 1113 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
Need writing help? Check your paper »
Apartheid is the political policy of racial segregation. In Afrikaans, it
means apartness, and it was pioneered in 1948 by the South African National
Party when it came to power.
Not only did apartheid separate whites from non-whites, it also segregated
the Blacks (Africans) from the Coloreds (Indians, Asians).
All things such as jobs, schools, railway stations, beaches, park benches,
public toilets and even parliament.
Apartheid also prevented blacks from living in white areas. This brought
about the hated "pass laws". These laws required any non-white to carry a pass
on him or her. Unless it was stamped on their pass, they were not allowed to
stay in a white area for more than 72 hours.
Despite the fact that the whites only make up just over 14% of the
population, they own 86.3% of the land. However, it must be said that the
Afrikaaners are entitled to the Orange Free State and Transvaal as they were
first to use it after the Great Trek of 1836.
The average South African White earns eight times as much as the average
black man. Coloureds earn three times as much as black while colords earn well
over half of what whites earn.
During Apartheid, media censorship was at an all time high. People were
even banned from showing Soweto on television. It was common to see a newspaper
shut down, and then start again after being halted by the government.
Up until 1985, mixed marriages were banned. This meant that a person of
one race cold not marry a person of another race. Apartheid was not only used
in theory, but also by law. Every person was classifed, just like an animal, as
white, black or coloured.
The system of Apartheid began to deteriorate in the mid to late 1980's. In
1985, mixed marriages were allowed, the Pass laws repealed, and a general
weakening of petty segregation laws regarding parks and beaches.
In 1994, the entire system collapsed after Pres. F.W. de Klerk gave non-
whites to vote. Nelson Mandella was elected tooffice following his prison
release in February 1990.
GROUP AREAS ACT
A Group Areas Act, froom 1948, set aside most of the coutntry for use by
the whites. Smaller, and less desiracle areas called 'bantustans' were set
aside for blacks. These areas are over crowded, un sanitory, and most of all,
unhygenic. Soweto, a large bantustan, is the size of Brighton, yet has over two
million peopl in it.
Blacks were told to regard these desolate and unfertile areas as their
'homelands'. Over half of the black South African population lived, not in
these batustans, but in the white areas of the country for cheap labour.
Nonwhites had to live in shanty towns, while the whites lived comfortably.
KEY GROUPS AND FIGURES
The AWB ( Afrikaans for Afrikaaners Resistance Movement) are an extreme
right wing group who seek the formation of a Volkstaat. A Volkstaat would be
entirely made up of Afrikaaners. Led by Eugene Terre'blanche, they resort to
terrorist activities such as bombings, shootings, weapon theft and raids on
black townships to achieve their aim. They are totally for segregation.
Born in 1946, he attended Natal University in 1966 to study medacine.
After leaving the white dominated National Union of students to form the all-
black South African Students Organisation. Aleading figure in the Black
Conciosness Movement, he formed the Black Peoples Convention, and several
communtity based organisations. In 1975, he was held without arrest for 137
days. Not surprisingly, he died in 1977 after being beaten in police custody
after being taken from Port Elisabeth to Pretoria.
Born into the Royal Family of the Tembu in Transkei. For involvement in
student politics, he was expelledfrom Fort Haire University, but obtained a law
degree by correspondance. He established the first African law practise in
Johannesburg along with his partner Oliver Tambo. He co-founded the ANC with
Youth League with Tambo and Walter Sisulu and eventually became National
President. In 1952, he was arrested for the Defiance campaign, which blatantly
broke Apartheid laws. In 1956, Mandella was charged with High Treason. He was
aquitted four and a half years later. After the Sharpeville massaacre, Mandella
helped form the military wing of the ANC. He went into hiding and travelled
abroad before being again arrested, this time for illegally exiting the country
in 1962, for which he recieved a sentence of five years. Whilst serving this
sentence, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for 'sabotage' and 'conspiracy
to overthrow the government by revolution'. This was extremely unjust, as he
was charged with these offences under the Suppression of Communism Act, and
Mandella favoured a Westminster type democracy. Finally, after years of
international pressure, Mandella was released in February, 1990. In 1993, he
shared the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1994, became South African President.
Ordained as apriest in 1961, Tutu studied theology in London where he gaine
dhis asters degree in 1966. He became bishop of Lesotho in 1978 and was
appoited secretary-general of the South African Council of Churches in the same
year. He was honoured world-wide for his determination in resisting apartheid
peacefuly. He supported the Free Mandela campaign and promoted peaceful
disobidience. Awarded the Nobel piec prize in 1985, he was a powerful voice
amongst those calling for economic sanctions to be placed on South Africa. He
was Archbishop of Johannesburg, then Cape Town, befor retiring in 1995.
Born in Holland, Verwoerd was known as one of the 'architects of apartheid'
because he created the idea of bantustan and bantu education. In 1946, he
became vice-chairman of the National Party in Transval and then Minister of
Native and Bantu Administration in 1950. He became Prime Minister in 1958 and
was assassinated eight years later.
From 1948 to 1990, South Africa had an appaling record with regards to
human rights. Not only was Apartheid in use, but blacks were being killed on
streets, playground and even in their homes and police stations. The government
organised and condoned this behaviour. They breached Article of the decleration
of human rights by banning groups such as the ANC. Article was breached by the
police when they would arrest people for no reason. Finally Article was
breached simply because the South African Government, army and police force did
not treat blacks equaly and fairly like human beings.
With the Presidency of Nelson Mandella, and the leadership of the ANC, the
country looks set to put behind them the troubles of the past one hundred years,
however, with extremist groups and people such as the AWB and Eugene
Terre'Blanche, one can never be sure.