Apartheid (Separateness)

Topics: South Africa, Africa, Nelson Mandela Pages: 13 (4777 words) Published: February 4, 2011
Apartheid  (separateness) was a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government of South Africa between 1948 and 1993, under which the rights of the majority 'non-white' inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and minority rule by white people was maintained. Racial segregation in South Africa began in colonial times. However, apartheid as an official policy was introduced following the general election of 1948. In the run-up to the 1948 elections, the main Afrikaner nationalist party, the Herenigde Nasionale Party (Reunited National Party) under the leadership of Protestant cleric Daniel Francois Malan, campaigned on its policy of apartheid. The NP narrowly defeated Smuts’ United Party and formed a coalition government with another Afrikaner nationalist party, the Afrikaner Party. Malan became the first apartheid prime minister, and the two parties later merged to form the National Party (NP). The state passed laws which paved the way for "grand apartheid", which was centered on separating races on a large scale, by compelling people to live in separate places defined by race (This strategy was in part adopted from "left-over" British rule that separated different racial groups after they took control of the Boer republics in the Anglo-Boer war. This created the so called black only "townships" or "locations" where blacks were relocated in their own towns). In addition, "petty apartheid" laws were passed. The principal apartheid laws were as follows: The first grand apartheid law was the Population Registration Act of 1950, which formalised racial classification and introduced an identity card for all persons over the age of eighteen, specifying their racial group. The second pillar of grand apartheid was the Group Areas Act of 1950. Until then, most settlements had people of different races living side by side. This Act put an end to diverse areas and determined where one lived according to race. Each race was allotted its own area, which was used in later years as a basis of forced removal. The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 prohibited marriage between persons of different races, and the Immorality Act of 1950 made sexual relations with a person of a different race a criminal offence. . Under the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953, municipal grounds could be reserved for a particular race, creating, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities. Signboards such as "whites only" applied to public areas, even including park benches. Black people were provided with services greatly inferior to those of whites, and, to a lesser extent, to those of Indian and colored people. Education was segregated by means of the 1953 Bantu Education Act, which crafted a separate system of education for African students and was designed to prepare black people for lives as a laboring class. In 1959 separate universities were created for black, coloured and Indian people. Existing universities were not permitted to enroll new black students. The government tightened existing pass laws, compelling black South Africans to carry identity documents to prevent the migration of blacks to South Africa. Any black residents of cities had to be in employment. Up until 1956 women were for the most part excluded from these pass requirements as attempts to introduce pass laws for women were met with fierce resistance. In 1950, D F Malan announced the NP's intention to create a Colored Affairs Department. J.G. Strijdom, Malan's successor as Prime Minister, moved to strip voting rights from black and colored residents of the Cape Province. The government then introduced the High Court of Parliament Bill (1952), which gave parliament the power to overrule decisions of the court. The Cape Supreme Court and the Appeal Court declared this invalid. In 1955 the Strijdom government increased the number of judges in the Appeal Court...
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