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Apartheid in South Africa
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| Words: 585 | Submitted: 15-May-2011
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DescriptionThe racial system of segregation in South Africa was legalised through a number of laws to cement the "superiority" of whites over blacks.
Apartheid in South Africa
Apartheid is an Afrikaner word meaning ‘apartness’ or ‘separateness’. The system of apartheid was officially introduced in South Africa in 1948. From that time on, the native people of South Africa have lived under the most excruciating system of institutionalised injustice. It was a system which kept the non-whites powerless, poor and without basic rights. The struggle to end the system has been a momentous on which has cost all South Africans dearly.
Under apartheid, all South Africans were divided according to their race or colour. The whites controlled the land, the economy, the wealth and the government of South Africa. They controlled the rest of the population through their police and security forces.
The theory behind apartheid was that white people and people of other racial origins were so different culturally that they could never form a cohesive and harmonious community. It was believed that if there were attempts to integrate the races then the small white population would be dominated by the majority race. Consequently white South Africans would lose their control over the political, cultural and economic life of the country. The white solution was to separate the races and partition the country into areas where whites and other races could develop separately.
In the first five years of the National Party government, which consisted wholly of Afrikaners, a series of far-reaching laws had been passed to enable the establishment of a legal system of segregation which would permeate all aspects of life. The laws were based on the Afrikaner concept of ‘baaskap’ – white supremacy. There were ultimately 317 apartheid laws and security laws to ensure enforcement of the system of apartheid and to ensure that opposition to these laws were prevented. These included the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act 1949 which made marriage between a white person and a person of another racial group a crime. The Immorality Act 1950 banned sexual contact between whites and other races.
One of the most crucial laws, the Group Areas Act 1950 handed approximately 84% of the nations territory to the minority whites. Under enforcement of this law, it is estimated that over three million natives were forced to move from their homes to allocated areas known as ‘homelands’. Although the land was divided racially, it was not done so equally. 75% of the population was appointed only 13% of the land in South Africa. Separate ‘townships’ were allowed to grow near major cities and towns, which meant that there would always be a ready source of cheap labour for the whites.
The Native Americans were oppressed from all directions, but many people still rebelled. The African National Council (ANC) was established in 1912, and was the ...
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