Apartheid means racial segregation. Apartheid started after the World War II by the National Party and Broederbond organizations. The National Party was dominated by the Afrikaner, that is, the white South Africans whose ancestors were French, German, Dutch or Belgian. The white South Africans suppressed the black South Africans in every way. Here are some highlights of that dreadful period.
Highlights of Apartheid:
- The nonwhite South Africans had to live in separate places. They were not allowed to use any public facilities that the white South Africans had access to.
- There was very minimum contact between the two groups of people. They hardly met at any social gathering.
- The laws of this period were effective for 50 years! It began in the 19th century.
- In the first phase of the 20th century, the British colonial administrators adapted the teaching of John Ruskin. The white race would be the leader and help other races to work towards goal of equality. But throughout the process a certain level of separation was maintained.
- The black South Africans were mainly offered labor intensive jobs. By doing so the white South Africans ensured that the mental competence of the blacks was not equal to theirs.
- The racial segregation developed in South Africa even before Apartheid started. It all began from the controversial 1913 Land Act which marked the beginning of territorial segregation.
- In 1950 marriages between whites and people of different races were banned. Even sexual relations were prohibited between the white South Africans and black South Africans.
- A set of Land Acts were passed in the parliament according to which 80% of South Africa’s land was allocated for the white South Africans.
- Resistance to the Apartheid policy began during the 1950s and 1960s. Major opposing leaders were arrested. They were imprisoned for a long time. Nelson Mandela was kept in prison from 1963 to 1990. It is his imprisonment that drew international attention.
- The United Nations General Assembly voted against apartheid in 1973. In 1976 the UN Security Council banned the selling of arms to South Africa. Economic sanctions were imposed by the United States and United Kingdom on South Africa.
- In 1994 a new constitution was in place due to international pressure which led to form a government with nonwhite majority. Thus, the apartheid system came to an end.
There are many lessons to be taken from the Apartheid system. It has set an example for the rest of the world that racism cannot go much further. Great leaders like Nelson Mandela will always be remembered for their contribution to end the dark period of South Africa.
Read about role played by Nelson Mandela during the Apartheid >>>