The Roots of Apartheid: South Africa’s Colonial Experience

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In recent years, there have been efforts to understand the institution of apartheid in South Africa. From the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to general study into the history of South Africa, much scholarship has been devoted to the study of the effects of apartheid and the atrocities committed in the post-World War II period. However, one topic remains largely un-researched—the origins of the vast apartheid structure instituted by the Herenigde (Reunited) National Party (HNP) in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, different and larger than any other nation’s program . Apartheid had long existed in most nations, but its continued stay is a South African peculiarity . Although most African nations had similar racial discrimination programs during the colonial period, during the post-colonial era, only South Africa was able to institute South Africa’s system of apartheid due to the large white colonist population in South Africa and their dedication to the state of South Africa over any colonial power.

From the beginning of colonization in South Africa, white settlers wanted to create a separate land, away from black South Africans, for both moral and economic reasons. Apartheid laws, such as the passage of laws banning the marriage between blacks and whites, were supported by white colonists in order to ensure a separate existence from blacks and maintain their moral purity. Afrikaners believed in their moral superiority to other South Africans, and held that they were the true South Africans . Because of this perceived moral superiority, Afrikaners held that they must create a new a better world for themselves, while segregating the black South Africans to their own personal tribes and ancestral lands. As early as 1839, Afri...

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