Apartheid

In South Africa

Definition (Write the definition in the "Station 5" section of your Station Log)

A South African system in which racial groups were separated and racial discrimination was legal.

About Apartheid

Apartheid was a system in place in South Africa that separated people based on their race and skin color. There were laws that forced white people and black people to live and work apart from each other. Even though there were less white people than black people, apartheid laws allowed white people to rule the country and enforce the laws.

Apartheid became law after the National Party won the election in 1948. They declared certain areas as white only and other areas as black only. Many people protested apartheid from the start, but they were labeled communists and put into jail.


In the 1950s many groups formed to protest against apartheid. The protests were called the Defiance Campaign. The most prominent of these groups was the African National Congress (ANC). Initially the ANC protests were non-violent. However, after 69 protesters were killed by police at the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, they began to take a more militaristic approach.


One of the leaders of the ANC was a lawyer named Nelson Mandela. After the Sharpeville massacre, Nelson led a group called the Umkhonto we Sizwe. This group took military action against the government including bombing buildings. Nelson was arrested in 1962 and sent to prison. He spent the next 27 years in prison. During this time in prison he became a symbol of the people against apartheid.


Apartheid finally came to an end in the early 1990s. Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and a year later South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk repealed the remaining apartheid laws and called for a new constitution. In 1994, a new election was held in which people of all color could vote. The ANC won the election and Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa.

Answer the following questions in the "Station 5" section of your station log. (Do not write the questions)

1. What was apartheid?

2. How did it start?

3. Who is Nelson Mandela?

4. How was he involved in South Africa's apartheid issue?

Watch the video below...