Apartheid In South Africa

Apartheid is the political policy of racial segregation. In Afrikaans, it means apartness, and it was pioneered in 1948 by the South African National Party when it came to power. Not only did apartheid seperate whites from non-whites, it also segregated the Blacks (Africans) from the Coloureds (Indians, Asians). All things such as jobs, schools, railway stations, beaches, park benches, public toilets and even parliament. Apartheid also prevented blacks from living in white areas. This brought about the hated “pass laws”. These laws required any non-white to carry a pass on him or her.

Unless it was stamped on their pass, they were not allowed to stay in a white area for more than 72 hours. Despite the fact that the whites only make up just over 14% of the population, they own 86. 3% of the land. However, it must be said that the Afrikaaners are entitled to the Orange Free State and Transvaal as they were first to use it after the Great Trek of 1836. The average South African White earns eight times as much as the average black man. Coloureds earn three times as much as black while colords earn well over half of what whites earn. During Apartheid, media censorship was at an all time high. People were ven banned from showing Soweto on television.

It was common to see a newspaper shut down, and then start again after being halted by the government. Up until 1985, mixed marriages were banned. This meant that a person of one race cold not marry a person of another race. Apartheid was not only used in theory, but also by law. Every person was classifed, just like an animal, as white, black or coloured. The system of Apartheid began to deteriorate in the mid to late 1980’s. In 1985, mixed marriages were allowed, the Pass laws repealed, and a general weakening of petty segregation laws regarding parks and beaches.

In 1994, the entire system collapsed after Pres. F. W. de Klerk gave non- whites to vote. Nelson Mandella was elected tooffice following his prison release in February 1990. GROUP AREAS ACT A Group Areas Act, froom 1948, set aside most of the coutntry for use by the whites. Smaller, and less desiracle areas called ‘bantustans’ were set aside for blacks. These areas are over crowded, un sanitory, and most of all, unhygenic. Soweto, a large bantustan, is the size of Brighton, yet has over two million peopl in it. Blacks were told to regard these desolate and unfertile areas as their ‘homelands’.

Over half of the black South African population lived, not in these batustans, but in the white areas of the country for cheap labour. Nonwhites had to live in shanty towns, while the whites lived comfortably. KEY GROUPS AND FIGURES AWB The AWB ( Afrikaans for Afrikaaners Resistance Movement) are an extreme right wing group who seek the formation of a Volkstaat. A Volkstaat would be entirely made up of Afrikaaners. Led by Eugene Terre’blanche, they resort to terrorist activities such as bombings, shootings, weapon theft and raids on black townships to achieve their aim. They are totally for segregation.

STEVE BIKO Born in 1946, he attended Natal University in 1966 to study medacine. After leaving the white dominated National Union of students to form the all- black South African Students Organisation. Aleading figure in the Black Conciosness Movement, he formed the Black Peoples Convention, and several communtity based organisations. In 1975, he was held without arrest for 137 days. Not surprisingly, he died in 1977 after being beaten in police custody after being taken from Port Elisabeth to Pretoria. NELSON MANDELLA Born into the Royal Family of the Tembu in Transkei. For involvement in tudent politics, he was expelledfrom Fort Haire University, but obtained a law degree by correspondance. He established the first African law practise in Johannesburg along with his partner Oliver Tambo. He co-founded the ANC with Youth League with Tambo and Walter Sisulu and eventually became National President. In 1952, he was arrested for the Defiance campaign, which blatantly broke Apartheid laws. In 1956, Mandella was charged with High Treason.

He was aquitted four and a half years later. After the Sharpeville massaacre, Mandella helped form the military wing of the ANC. He went into hiding and travelled broad before being again arrested, this time for illegally exiting the country in 1962, for which he recieved a sentence of five years. Whilst serving this sentence, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for ‘sabotage’ and ‘conspiracy to overthrow the government by revolution’. This was extremely unjust, as he was charged with these offences under the Suppression of Communism Act, and Mandella favoured a Westminster type democracy. Finally, after years of international pressure, Mandella was released in February, 1990. In 1993, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1994, became South African President.

DESMOND TUTU Ordained as apriest in 1961, Tutu studied theology in London where he gaine dhis asters degree in 1966. He became bishop of Lesotho in 1978 and was appoited secretary-general of the South African Council of Churches in the same year. He was honoured world-wide for his determination in resisting apartheid peacefuly. He supported the Free Mandela campaign and promoted peaceful disobidience. Awarded the Nobel piec prize in 1985, he was a powerful voice amongst those calling for economic sanctions to be placed on South Africa. He was Archbishop of Johannesburg, then Cape Town, befor retiring in 1995.

HENDRIK VERWOERD Born in Holland, Verwoerd was known as one of the ‘architects of apartheid’ because he created the idea of bantustan and bantu education. In 1946, he became vice-chairman of the National Party in Transval and then Minister of Native and Bantu Administration in 1950. He became Prime Minister in 1958 and was assassinated eight years later. SUMMARY From 1948 to 1990, South Africa had an appaling record with regards to human rights. Not only was Apartheid in use, but blacks were being killed on streets, playground and even in their homes and police stations. The government rganised and condoned this behaviour.

They breached Article of the decleration of human rights by banning groups such as the ANC. Article was breached by the police when they would arrest people for no reason. Finally Article was breached simply because the South African Government, army and police force did not treat blacks equaly and fairly like human beings. With the Presidency of Nelson Mandella, and the leadership of the ANC, the country looks set to put behind them the troubles of the past one hundred years, however, with extremist groups and people such as the AWB and Eugene Terre’Blanche, one can never be sure.

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