Apartheid: the Resistance

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“At least I can count on you to protect me if the violence comes, can’t I, Cephas?” The White Johannesburg housewife, unnerved by stories of nearby riots, looked up from the newspaper at her longtime servant. “Ma’am,” he replied slowly, “you’re the first one I’m going to shoot.”(Apartheid’s Rebels). Apartheid, which by definition means “apartness”, is a period in South African history in which the officially policy was legal separation of whites and non-whites involving political, legal, and economic discrimination. This paper will discuss the beginning of apartheid rule in South Africa, the internal resistance that apartheid was met with, and the dismantling of apartheid. Introducing apartheid to South Africa led to the repression and the eventual uprising of Africans fighting against the government, using any means necessary to complete their goal of racial equality. The system of apartheid is a result of colonial rule entrenched from the time European settlers came to Africa to exploit its natural resources. Aside from the mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, and ivory. Most importantly, Africa offered the commodity of black slaves to be sold and deported to the highest border regardless of country. British and French rule were the prominent players in the beginning. White Europeans came to Africa and were granted the most fertile, agriculturally efficient land. These lands were taken away from their native African owners and given away without any kind of compensation. The lands that these Europeans were given became known as settler colonies and this tradition for many years. In 1948, the Afrikaner nationalist government came into power and strengthened the Apartheid System which would stand for nearly fifty more years. As the gulf of racial segregation widened, Africans would have to endure “forced removals” which entailed being moved to specific areas for non-whites known as “homelands.” The most famous example of a homeland would be when thousands of Africans were moved from Johannesburg to Soweto, which is an acronym for South Western Township. This segregated area would later play a key role in the anti-apartheid movement(Wikipedia). Discrimination occurred at two levels, there was Grand Apartheid, which established separate homelands and areas, and 'Petty Apartheid' which segregated everyday places. The Separate Amenities Act of 1953, included a clause stating that separate facilities no longer had to be 'substantially equal', so allowing the government to provide better facilities to whites(Cape Town). The National Party introduced a number of legislative acts, the most prominent are Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act 55 which disallowed any marriage between a white person and a person of color, The Immorality Act 21 of 1950 which forbade of any immoral act between a white person and an African, Indian, or colored person. According to the Apartheid Handbook, the public facilities that were most affected by segregation was “Among others, post offices and government buildings, including police stations, were either totally segregated or had partitions erected in them so that whites could served on one side and blacks on the other. Liquor outlets had to be segregated. Civic halls, libraries, parks, theatres, cinemas, hotels, restaurants, cafes, and clubs were normally barred to blacks if situated in “white” areas. Sports amenities and beaches were also reserved for the use of one racial group(46). Most of the aforementioned segregated areas were put into effect by the Group Areas Act. The population was classified into four groups: Black, White, Indian, and Colored. (These terms are capitalized to denote their legal definitions in South African law). The Colored group included people of mixed Bantu, Khoisan, and European descent (Wikipedia). Police would brutally assault Africans without cause or provocation(Wikipedia). Africans resented the white European settlers who had swooped in and stole their land....
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