South Africa and Apartheid Term Paper

  • Length: 14 pages
  • Sources: 6
  • Subject: Literature - African
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #79684751

Excerpt from Term Paper :

South Africa under the apartheid system

Apartheid was a socio-political policy of segregating and discriminating the citizens and even visitors in South Africa between 1948 and 1994.The system was put into action by the government of the minority white population. The system's basis of segregation and discrimination was pegged on the color of the skin.

The system categories people into four distinct groups. The groups included blacks, colored, Asians and whites.

The Apartheid policy was made possible and implemented in 1950 by the Population Registration act of 1950.The policy was later referred to as the separate development policy. The Act divided the South Africans into three racial groups. The categories that were originally created included the black African (Bantu),mixed race (colored), and white. Later on a new category was created which included Pakistanis and Indians. The group was referred to as Asian.

The enactment of the apartheid system was a result of a series of laws that were passed earlier on in 1950s.Originally the Group Areas Act of 1950 classified the different racial groups in terms of their residential and business sub-divisions in the different urban areas. Subsequently the lands Acts (1954 and 1955) confined the nonwhite residence to certain areas of South Africa.

These laws that were later passed further reduced the right of black Africans. Their right to own land became more limited. This increased the white minority's rule and control over most of South African land. Several other laws worsened the situation of racial prejudice. For example there were other laws that prohibited social contact between the various racial groupings. Some laws enacted the segregation of public utilities and infrastructure. For example different toilets were constructed for the various racial groups. There was never any form of sharing of facilities. Standards of educations were also designed or rather separated to fit the various racial groups. The best education standards were reserved for the minority white while the worst was for the black Africans. Job categories were also tailored to be race- specific. The best jobs for the white South Africans while the worst jobs with the least pay were for the black South Africans. Later on, the powers of nonwhite unions were reduced and participation of nonwhites in the government was also prohibited.

The 1951 Bantu Authority Act and the 1959 Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act aggravated the racial divisions by coming up with ten African "homelands." These administrative unites were managed through tribal organizations. Every black South African was made a citizen of one of the ten administrative divisions. This was made possible through the provisions outlined in the 1970 Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act. This automatically expunged the blacks from the mainstream South African politics. The ruling white minority specifically and strategically crafted the design and location of the homelands in order to maintain maximum control of their citizens. The homelands for example were located in areas that were devoid of useful natural resources and therefore lacked any economic viability. They were overcrowded and heavily segmented .They also lacked the autonomy associated with independent states.

There were several reactions to the apartheid rule in South Africa. The reactions were both from within and without South Africa. The black South African together with the sympathetic whites South Africans both used several techniques to oppose the discriminatory rule. Several black political movements with the support of sympathetic whites employed an array of tactics to oppose the apartheid rule. Such tactics included the following: demonstrations, violent strikes and even sabotage.Thier strategies were always met with fierce reactions by the ruling white government. In 1961, the international community criticized the South African apartheid rule. The international denunciations saw South Africa withdrawn from the British Commonwealth group of nations. This was due to the pressure from the Commonwealth member states who were opposed to the apartheid system of governance. Later on in 1985 the U.S.A. And The Great Britain imposed various sanctions on South Africa as a protest of the apartheid policy

Finally, the pressure fro within and without South Africa forced the South African government to succumb to the needs of the citizens.Therefore, the government under the leadership of President Fredric de Klerk initiated the steps that led to the abandoning altogether of the racial apartheid system. Immediate reforms were necessary so in 1990 the national Party government was formed in order to drive the reform agenda. The black congress that was earlier on banned was then legalized and the black leaders who were imprisoned were released from jail. 1994 saw the countries constitution redrafted and for the very first time in history free and fair general elections were held. Nelson Mandela was declared the winner in the election and he became first South African black president and the apartheid system was then disbanded and abolished

How and why apartheid system began in South Africa

White supremacy and racial segregation had excited in South Africa for a long time. Racial prejudice had been traditionally accepted before 1948.However, during that years' general election, the apartheid policy was included in Afrikaner Nationalist Party platform by Daniel F. Malan.That brought the party to power for the initial time.

A series of Laws and Acts are what culminated to the apartheid system of governance.

During the 19th century, the British colonial masters crafted a system that included Pass Laws in South Africa. The Pass Laws system was administered in their Cape Colony together with the natal Colony. The pass system was meant to restrict the movement of blacks from the tribal regions where they lived to the areas occupied by the whites and the colored. The Pass Laws that were put into place were meant not only to restrict the movement of the blacks between the colonial districts but also to prohibit their unwarranted movement without the signed pass.

There was selective curfew against the blacks in both the Natal and Cape colony. They were never to walk after dark and they had to bear their passes on them every time.

Historical precursors of Apartheid

In 1892, the Franchise and Ballot Act put limitations on the financial might and educational level of the blacks' community. In 1894 the natal Legislative Assembly Bill stripped Indians of their voting rights. Then in 1905, the General Pass Regulation Bill blocked blacks from voting at all. It also confined them to predetermined areas of scarce natural resources through the Pass system. The Asiatic Registration Act of 1906 then required all Indians to be registered and to bear passes at all times. Later on, the South Africa Act was passed in 1910.It gave the whites total authority and political control over the remaining South African races. It also stripped the blacks of their right in the legislative assembly (Parliament).

In 1913, the Native Land Act prevented all blacks in most parts of South Africa with the exception of Cape Province from acquiring land from outside the predetermined "reserves." The 1918 Urban Areas Bill was enacted to push black into "locations." Then followed the 1923 Urban Areas Act which brought into place the segregation based on residence and exploited the blacks in terms of providing cheap labor to the white driven industry. Later on in 1926, the Color Bar Code Act barred blacks from engaging in skilled trades.

The British Crown was then made the supreme head of all African affairs by the Native Administration Act. A role formerly reserved for the paramount chiefs. The representation of natives Act was also enacted. It eliminated blacks from the voters' register in Cape. Then in 1946, the Asiatic land Tenure Bill was passed by Jan Smuts' United Party government. The bill banned the sale of land to Asians.

Then during the Second World War Jan Smuts' United Party government started to drift away from the discriminatory laws but no without the fear that were associates with such a move. Their biggest worry was concerning the effects of racial assimilation. Therefore the Sauer Commission was then mandated by the legislature to conduct an investigation in the effects of Jan Smut's Party's policies. The commission of inquiry recommended that integration would result in a complete loss of personality for the various racial groups.

After the 1948 general elections, the Apartheid regime was born through the National Party. The existing policies were legalized and formalized into a complete system of formalized racism accompanied with white domination. Legislation was passed to support Apartheid. The legislation classified the citizens and visitors into different racial categories. The categories included the more superior whites and the less superior black, colored and Asian groups. It is worth noting that Werner Eiselen, the Apartheid architect pointed out that the South African government could not uphold the segregation and its accompanying evil of white supremacy.

Events that took place under the Apartheid System

The apartheid system was classified into two main categories. The first category was referred to as the 'grand apartheid' while the second one was referred to as "petty apartheid." The former involved the actions that were geared…

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