South Africa

Defining Apartheid

The apartheid in South Africa was a time of apartness and segregation between blacks and whites. It started in the early 1900’s when Afrikaners, a group comprised of German, Dutch, English, and French people that came to settle in South Africa. These Afrikaners were put into power through elections, and gained much control over the country. They soon excluded blacks, and any other non-white races from parliament. Over the years they passed more and more laws limiting the rights of colored races, with blacks facing the worst discrimination.

Laws and Rights

Politically, blacks in South Africa were denied many rights. The government put new laws into effect that segregated blacks and whites that reserved education, ownership, and

ability to acquire jobs. Such laws like the 1913 Native Land Act. The Native Land Act reserves 80% of arable land in the colony for white farmers. Another act that was passed is the population registration act. This act divided citizens into white and non-white categories then the non-white was further divided into colored, asian, and bantu categories. The bantu was then divided into several tribes. In South Africa they had a judiciary “controlled entirely by whites” which was not impartial. IN 1955 six white women created the Black Sash; a white, liberal, women’s human rights organization in South Africa that opposed the apartheid regime. This provided free legal and other aid to black South Africans. Until many years later the black/nonwhites had more laws against them.

Government and Leaders

In South Africa, political groups formed because of the apartheid. Stephen Biko was the first to take the stand against apartheid. He started the South African Students’ Organization (SASO) in 1968. The next anti-apartheid group to form was the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC started as a moderate reform minded activist group, but as the years went on a younger generation of members gave new life to the organization. They were a leading cause in the abolishment of apartheid.
The problems with apartheid seemed as though they were getting better when Peter Botha was elected to office as Prime Minister in 1978. Botha started to make small changes in favor of the black majority, but in the end created other policies that kept the basic principles of apartheid unchanged.
Things really changed when Fredrik de Klerk took over as president in 1989. Klerk started by meeting with African groups such as the ANC to include African Americans in political issues. He next worked to dismantle apartheid. One of Klerk’s biggest moves was releasing Nelson Mandela, an ANC activist, from prison in 1990. Mandela became a symbol to the black South African people that the fight against discrimination was almost over. In 1994, Mandela was elected president in South Africa’s first free election. Although the battle against apartheid was won, Mandela was now faced with the challenge of uniting a broken country.

Economy (food/jobs)

Food and jobs were both harder to get for blacks in South Africa. Black South Africans usually don’t have hoger ranked jobs or even a job at all. That all ended during World War Two when there many labor shortages. This encouraged manufacturers to hire blacks in positions that were traditionally for white workers. Some laws intended to limit contact with whites and nonwhites by reserving employment for white workers and making provisions for separate public facilities for the different races.

Social Classes

Social conditions were extremely poor for black South Africans. Whites were considered the dominant race in South Africa, and blacks were the lower social class. This practice was legalized with the classification of South Africans as being separated in The Population Registration Act. Also, social rights were limited for all, except white South Africans. The separation of races in schooling was signified with the 1953 Educational Act. This act forced africans out of mission schools and put them into state run schools, where the students were taught the significance of the ethnic differences between races.

South Africa Now

The apartheid was a major influence on the way South Africa is now. Although the apartheid officially ended in 1994, there are still major differences in the culture between races. For example, blacks still lived in slums and other harsh living environments. Also, in spite of the fact that the apartheid was over, there are still inequalities in economics, health, and politics among the different races. A major influence remains in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who was black and the first ever popularly elected president in South Africa. Mandela is a symbol of equality between blacks and whites and is looked up to by most african peoples. All in all, South Africa remains divided.