History of Apartheid in South Africa

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  • Topic: South Africa, Black people, White people
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  • Published : November 15, 2010
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History of Apartheid in South Africa

Apartheid; the word alone sends a shiver down the spines of the repressed African community. Apartheid represents a mordant period in the history of South Africa, when the policy of segregation and political and economic discriminating against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa. The purpose is to educate the entire community not only to act against apartheid now, but to learn from the struggle against apartheid in order to help build a world in which people of diverse backgrounds live harmoniously in equality. It represents a mordant period in the history of South Africa. An entire community has been gutted, and the innards laid out to view. Despite the fact that the economic and psychological damage has already been done, has been done

The Afrikaners are a South African people of Dutch or French Huguenot descent. In 1998, 2.7 million Afrikaners inhabited South Africa, consisting of about 56% of the white population. Their language is Afrikaans, a derivative of Dutch. The Nationalist party of South Africa was founded in 1914 by James Barry Munnik Hertzog to protect and promote the interests of Afrikaners against what were considered the pro-British policies of the South African party, led by Louis Botha and Jan Smuts. On May 26, 1948, the Nationalists reigned victorious. They won the parliamentary elections and gained control of the South African government, despite the fact that they constituted no more than 12% of the population. The party, under new Premier Dr. Daniel F. Malan, began taking steps toward implementing apartheid, the political policy of racial separation.

Over the next several decades, they consolidated their power. "The National Party used its control of the government to fulfill Afrikaners ethnic goals as well as white racial goals." In 1961, South Africa became a republic and completed its separation from Great Britain. Apartheid turned into "a drastic, systematic program of social injuring" based on four ideas. First, the population of South Africa comprised four racial groups--white, colored, Indian, and African--each with its own inherent culture. Second, whites, as the civilized race, were entitled to have absolute control over the state. Third, white interests should prevail over black interests; the state was not obliged to provide equal facilities for the subordinate races. Finally, the white racial group formed a single nation, with Afrikaans, while Africans belonged to several (eventually ten) distinct nations or potential nations, a formula that made the white nation the largest in the country.

Over the years, the government introduced a series of repressive laws. The implementation of the apartheid policy, later referred to as "separate development," was made possible by the Population Registration Act of 1950. It is widely considered the cornerstone of the entire system. It provided for the racial classification of every person. The law put all South Africans into three racial categories: Bantu (black African), white, or Colored (of mixed race). While the statutory definitions of so-called "coloreds" under apartheid have shifted over time, they have been persistently raven with contradictions. The state has variously sought to demarcate the category "colored" on the basis of descent, parentage, physical appearance, language preference, cultural criteria, and "general acceptance" by "the community." The Population Registration Act defined a "colored" as someone "who in appearance is obviously not white or Indian, and who is not a member of an aboriginal race or African tribe."

The petty-bourgeois obsession with racial ‘purity' and eugenics, was given expression in yet another set of repressive laws. The Group Areas Act of 1950 assigned races to different residential and business sections in urban areas, and the Land Acts of 1954 and 1955 restricted nonwhite residence in specific...
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