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Apartheid in South Africa

By elsisi2013 Oct 17, 2013 659 Words

Apartheid was developed after World War II by the Afrikaner- dominated National Party. By definition Apartheid is a system of racial segregation. The National Party (NP) governments enforced Apartheid, through legislation, in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. This new legislation classified inhabitants into four racial groups: black, white, coloured and Indian. (The Indian and coloured groups were further divided into several sub-classifications.) Through the Apartheid policy, “the government segregated education, medical care, beaches, and other public services, and provided black people with services inferior to those of white people.”

In addition, “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.” The first grand apartheid law was the Population Registration Act of 1950. The population Registration Act formalized racial classification by issuing all people over the age of 18 an ID card specifying their racial group. The second major law passed was the Group Act of 1950. Until this law was passed, 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.”

There were several other laws passed under grand apartheid. A few of the other laws passed included: the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949, the Immorality Act of 1950, the Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act of 1951, the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953 and the Bantu Education Act (1953).

“Apartheid sparked significant internal resistance and violence, as well as, long arms and trade embargos against South Africa.” From 1950 to 1994, there were many protests and uprisings, which the police responded to with police brutality. This response only fueled the local support for the armed resistance. “Internal resistance to the Apartheid system in South Africa came from several sectors of society and saw the creation of organizations dedicated to peaceful protests, passive resistance and armed insurrection.” Two of the organizations created were the youth wing of the African National Congress (1949) and the Pan Africanist Congress (1959). The most notable group was the PAC (Pan Africanist Congress), they organized a protest against pass books on March 21, 1960. The protest held in Sharpeville was daubed the Sharpeville Massacre because the police ended up killing 69 people. After the Sharpeville incident, 18,000 people, including the leaders of PAC and ANC, were arrested and both groups were banned.

There was not only internal resistance to apartheid; there was also a great deal of external resistance as well. Apartheid was the topic of several UN (United Nations) meetings through the 1960s to the 1990s. The UN passed Resolution 1761 on November 6, 1962 as a response to South Africa’s Apartheid policies. Resolution 1761 condemned the South African apartheid policies and in 1973 the UN adopted the Apartheid Convention which defines and even qualifies it as a crime against humanity which might lead to international criminal prosecution of the individuals responsible for perpetrating it. Later, in 1974 the UN moved to expel South Africa from the UN; however this motion was vetoed by France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“Apartheid was dismantled in a series of negotiations from 1990 to 1993, culminating in the elections of 1994.” Apartheid met its official end with the election of 1994. Over 20 million South Africans lined up to cast their vote. The African National party won 62.65% of the vote and with that the national Party (NP) was out of power. On May 10, 1994 Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the President of South Africa. Mandela established the Government of National Unity, ended Apartheid and appointed a cabinet. “The anniversary of the election, April 27, is celebrated as a public holiday in South Africa known as Freedom Day.


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