South Africa has been said to be one of the most diverse countries in the world and has been blessed with abundant natural resources. Apartheid can be seen as a blotch on an otherwise clandestine history, but in truth, much can be learned from that era. Let’s take a look at what really happened.
In the 17th century, South Africa was colonized by the English and Dutch. English domination of the Dutch descendants (known as Boers or Afrikaners) resulted in the Dutch establishing the new colonies of Orange Free State and Transvaal. The English invasion took place around 1900, after the discovery of diamonds in these areas, A tour through Apartheid
resulting in the Boer War. This was followed by independence from England and in the 1940’s the Afrikaner National Party was able to gain a strong majority. Strategists in the National Party invented apartheid as a means to cement their control over the economic and social system. The initial aim of apartheid was to maintain white domination while at the same time extending racial separation. A plan of “Grand Apartheid” was executed in the 1960’s which emphasised territorial separation and repression by police.
Apartheid laws were enacted in 1948 and a racial discrimination was institutionalised. Race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of ``white-only'' jobs. In 1950, the Population Registration Act required all South Africans to be racially classified as white, black (African) or coloured – of mixed descendants. This classification, the responsibility of the Department of Home Affairs, was based on appearance, social acceptance and descent. Non-compliance with the race laws were dealt with quite harshly and all blacks were required to carry a “pass book” which contained their fingerprints, photo and information on access to non-black areas.
he Bantu Authorities Act established a basis for ethnic government in African reserves, known as ``homelands.'' in 1951. These homelands were independent states to which each African was assigned by the government according to the record of origin (which was frequently inaccurate). Political rights, including voting, were restricted to the designated homeland, with the idea that they would be citizens of the homeland and lose their South African citizenship and any right of involvement with the South African Parliament which held complete hegemony over the homelands.In 1953, the Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act were passed, which empowered the government to declare stringent states of emergency and increased penalties for protesting against or supporting the repeal of a law. The penalties included fines, imprisonment and whippings. In 1960, a large group of blacks in Sharpeville refused to carry their passes; the government declared a state of emergency. The emergency lasted for 156 days, leaving 69 people dead and 187