What Is Apartheid What Affects Did it Have on South Africa's Economy  Term Paper

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The very structure of Apartheid was corrosive and thus led to the demise of the South African economy.

What is Apartheid?

Dutch and English Settlement. (Kahn)

Governmental Policies on Segregation ("Apartheid")

The structure of Apartheid





What affects did apartheid have on South Africa's economy?


Denial of Healthcare


Current and Future Economic Indicators

The apartheid in South Africa has been at the forefront of global issues for decades. The purpose of this discussion is to define the system of apartheid. We will review the history, structure and key players of the South African system of apartheid.

We will then explore the affects of apartheid on South Africa's economy. Our research will confirm that; the very structure of Apartheid was corrosive and thus led to the demise of the South African economy.

What is Apartheid

In the Afrikaans language the word apartheid actually means "apartness." (Eades) In South Africa, this system of apartness was based on skin color and geographic location. The definition of Apartheid is explained best in the book The Political Economy of Sanctions Against Apartheid. The author defines apartheid saying;

First, it is the hierarchical ordering of the whole social, economic and political structure of South African society on the basis of statutorily defined race.... Secondly, apartheid involves systematic political and economic discrimination against all blacks, but particularly against Africans. Thirdly, it involves segregation of the races not only politically and economically but also socially, particularly in housing and social services, including education and health care. Fourthly, apartheid is the legalization and institutionalization of this hierarchical, discriminatory and segregated system." (Kahn)


Long before Apartheid became the official political system of South Africa, the nation struggled with animosity among the races. Much of this animosity could be attributed to the settlement of the Dutchmen and Englishmen. Many of these settlers acquired their land through conquest and for that reason they feared the black majority. Thus the Europeans began to segregate themselves from the Africans. (Kahn)

Governmental policies of segregation began in 1910 when Blacks were prohibited from becoming members of parliament. ("Apartheid") The African National Congress was created in 1912 to confront the unfair treatment of Blacks. However, there was little that the ANC could do in 1913 when the government instituted a policy of allowing blacks to own only 13% of the land in South Africa. ("Apartheid")

The official practice of Apartheid in South Africa began in 1948 under the direction of The National Party and over time it grew into one of the cruelest political systems of the twentieth century. Many historians believe that the system was developed because of the conflicts that various migrating groups had with the native people of South Africa. The following paragraphs will actually explain the system of apartheid in greater detail.

The Structure of Apartheid

Within South Africa there are four different racial groups; Whites, Coloreds, Indians, and Blacks. Under Apartheid, the race of an individual determined the education that they could receive, who they had social contact with and where they could live. Whites (Europeans) had supremacy over all the other races -- they were first class citizens. Whites had access to the best neighborhoods, schools, social programs, healthcare...etc.

Coloreds, who were the second class of citizens, consisted of "indigenous Khoisan people and slaves imported from Madagascar, Indonesia, and tropical Africa." (Eades) Historically the Coloreds lived in the western section of the nation and most were farm laborers. They were very segregated from black Africans. They were also denied formal education unless they were educated at missions. After the apartheid began coloreds had more privileges than blacks and were actually allies with the National Party. (Eades)

The third class of citizens was the Indians. Some Indians were people whose Asian descendents were indentured servants who came to South Africa between 1860 and 1911 to work the sugar plantations. There were also Indians who flooded into the country in the 1870's as British subjects. Indians were recognized as citizens in the 1960's and were forced to move to crowded townships. Indians were treated worse than coloreds but a little better than blacks. It seems that Indians did not pose much of a threat to whites because they only made up 3% of the population. During apartheid Indians often allied with blacks but there was also animosity between the races.

The fourth class of citizens under apartheid was Africans. Under this system blacks were the most oppressed group even though they made up the largest segment of the population. Under apartheid blacks were forced from their home to live in townships, denied education, denied healthcare and were subjected to a great deal of brutality. Africans were seen as a great threat to White South Africa because they made up 70% of the population. This perceived threat caused the National Party to create a system of apartheid that would ensure that blacks could not have access to the same resources as whites. Over time this system made blacks a poor and destitute group within the nation of South Africa.

The end of Apartheid came in 1991 with the release of Nelson Mandela. Mandela was elected president in the nations first democratically held election. Today the affects of apartheid still linger with the people of South Africa. The next section of this report will deal with the economic effect of apartheid.

The affects of Apartheid on South Africa's Economy

The apartheid in South Africa had a devastating effect on the economy of South Africa. Many of the economic problems that exist in the nation today were created by the residue of the apartheid. Most notably is the large income disparity between whites and blacks.


The large income disparity was due in part to the government's creation of Bantu Homelands or townships. The government allotted these lands to Africans in an effort to further alienate them from white South Africans. A book entitled The End of Apartheid in South Africa explains,

The South African police forcibly removed people and destroyed their homes, the South African government gave them no compensation, and the new site of settlement often had no accommodations except sometimes tents, with inadequate water supplies and sanitation, and no basic social institutions. Forced removal became a major feature of African daily life, and the threat of resettlement affected almost every African in South Africa." (Eades)

These townships were on undeveloped land and thus there were no jobs for Blacks. At one point in the 1980's the unemployment rate for black was at 50%. Townships were extremely poor and plagued by disease because of poor sanitation and dirty drinking water. In addition, 70% of those that resided in townships lived below the poverty line.

Denial of Healthcare

The fact that blacks were denied good healthcare has also contributed greatly to the demise of the economy. Many in South Africa contracted deadly diseases under the apartheid which make it difficult or impossible for them to work. Additionally Black South Africans have been ravished by the AIDS virus. Much of this is due to the fact that they are uneducated about the disease and never get tested. (Ferreira and Kinsella) There is also a stigma attached to the disease which prevents some individuals with the disease from getting a job because they fear that they will be discriminated against by an employer.

The dehumanization that Africans endured as a result of apartheid also maimed their mentality. Many Africans have a difficult time integrating into society now that apartheid has ended. Apartheid created a nation that is still deeply divided and as you can see the very structure of apartheid was corrosive and the "apartness" that the system created led to the demise of the South African economy.


The apartheid created a nation of highly educated whites and a large percentage of poorly educated blacks. Large gaps in education also contribute to large income disparities. The lack of education among the majority of the people makes it very difficult for South Africa to compete in the global economy because there is a lack of skilled workers.


Another affect of apartheid on South Africa's economy has been crime. Crime is rampant in South Africa because so many are unemployed and they blame their white oppressors. This resentment of white South Africans has led to an increased number of car hijackings and robberies. In addition, black African's have killed white farmers and destroyed many of their farms.

Crime has also deterred foreign investors from engaging in business in South Africa. Some investors believe that the nation lacks the stability that is needed to have successful business. Many see an investment in the region as risky and extremely uncertain. (Fielding)

Current and Future Economic Indicators

The table below depicts some of the key economic indicators of the nation's economy. (Stals) As you can see this analyst predicts that South Africa's economy should slowly grow in the future. Whatever the future may hold it is with all certainty that we can…

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