What Was Apartheid in South Africa

For those of you who are interested in learning the history of South Africa, what was Apartheid in South Africa can be a question. South Africa, a country most recognized as the homeland of a great leader,Nelson Mandela, was also a country of racial segregation as it was the land of both white and non-white population governed by an all-white government. Segregation based on being white and non-white was highly severe in South Africa that the government of National Party formed a legal policy of racial segregation and this system is known as the Apartheid.

What was apartheid?

Apartheid, word meaning of the state of being apart was the legalized system of policies legislated for racial segregation. It was enforced by the South Africa’s National Party who came into power in 1948 and lasted till 1994. Under the apartheid, a highly strict code of marginality was maintained for the black-Americans or the non-white South Africans living in the country that formed the majority of the South African population. They were cornered to live in separate areas from the whites and were forced to use separate public facilities. The contact between the whites and the non-whites were extensively limited. Despite a considerable amount of strong oppositions, the apartheid remained active for a good number of years, 50 at a stretch.

what waApartheid in South Africa

Apartheid in South Africa Facts

Birth of apartheid

Apartheid was born after the World War II to sustain white supremacy. According to history of South Africa, racial segregation and white supremacy were existent for a good number of years, long before the birth of apartheid. The apartheid was only the legislation of a long practiced tradition in South Africa. However, the true beginning of the apartheid was marked with the 1913 Land Act, which was controversial due to its territorial segregation making black Americans live in separate areas.

Effects of Apartheid

A number of effects of apartheid are known since its origin and they can be discussed in terms of economic, social and public. One prime effect was institutionalizing of racial discrimination. Black-Americans in South Africa were neglected everywhere and their public lives too were restrained and interracial marriages too were banned. Territorial separation and police repression were another two effects of apartheid. It was that the opponents of the 1993 Land Act who formed the African National Congress in South Africa, a party that was led by Nelson Mandela when he got freed from prison in 1990. Further, the Group Areas Act of 1950 determined separate areas for the white and non-white to work and live in. This act favourably set urban areas for the white while the non-white were left with rural, most underprivileged areas. Moreover, the Bantu Authorities Act legislated in 1951 deprived all non-whites from their right to take part in the national government and naturally this act created a foundation for a n ethnic government for the blacks. This ethnic government of the black was known as the homelands which was established by the national government to function as independent states successfully curbing every black African’s political right to his homeland, including his right to cast vote, and ultimately forfeiting the citizenship of black South Africans.

End of apartheid

The much controversial apartheid began to come to an end with an incident that took place in 1976 in Soweto when a large number of black children demonstrated against the implementation of the Afrikaans language requirement for the non-white South African children in schools. The police attacked the peaceful protestors and a number of protests too followed this children’s protest. This series of incidents drew much international attention on the status of South Africa. In 1973, the United Nations General Assembly had denounced the apartheid in South Africa, that functioned irrespectively. Moreover, in 1976 the United Nations Secretary Council voted on an embargo on South Africa that resulted in termination of the sale of arms to the country. The United Kingdom and the United States of America too joined in and imposed economic sanctions on South Africa in 1985. Eventually, with much controversy and violence, the De Clerk’s government repealed all the laws that formed the apartheid and in 1994 presidential election was held to see the ANC party’s winning which resulted in Nelson Mandela’s presidency. Mandela steered a new journey with South Africa since the victory and today it has become a wonderful country for anyone to live peacefully.


Images Courtesy:

  1. White, Non- White image by Annette Kurylo (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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