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“Apartheid is the social and political policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government in South Africa from 148 until the early 10s. The word apartheid means ‘separateness’ in the Afrikaans language, and it described the rigid racial division between the governing white minority population and the nonwhite majority population.” The National Party introduced apartheid as part of their campaign in the 148 elections, and when they won, apartheid became the governing political policy for South Africa until the early 10s. The practice of segregation in South Africa; however, extends to the beginning of white settlement in South Africa in 165. When the National Party came into control, varied practices of racial segregation were installed and made into a uniform set of national laws.

The Population Registration Act of 150 made the achievement of the apartheid policy possible. This act put all South Africans into three different categories Bantu (black Africans), white, and Coloured (of mixed race). A fourth category of Asians was later added. There were also a series of laws in the 150s that elaborated the system of apartheid. “The Group Areas Act of 150 assigned races to different residential and business sections in the urban areas, and The Acts of 154 and 155 restricted nonwhite residents to specific areas. These laws further restricted the already limited right of black Africans to own land, entrenching the white minority’s control of over 80 percent of South African land.” One apartheid restriction required all blacks to carry a “pass book” stating their legal residence and workplace. This was extremely repressive, and those that were stopped by police without their proper papers could be summarily expelled to the countryside. In 15; however, the government passed the Natives (Abolition of Passes and Coordination of Documents) Act. This new law tightened pass regulations, renamed the passes reference books, and required women to carry them for the first time.

There were also other laws that prohibited most social contracts between the races. “The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 14 barred interracial marriages, and the Immorality Act of 150 prohibited sexual relations between different races. The 15 Reservation of Separate Amenities Act permitted the systematized permitted the systematic segregation of train stations, buses, movies theaters, hotels, and virtually all other public facilities, and barred the courts from overturning such restrictions.” Private schools for black persons were closed so black children were forced to attend a separate, inferior education system.


“The government continued to implement new apartheid regulations in the 160s, 170s, and 180s. The Bantu Laws Amendment Act of 164, for example, gave the government complete authority to banish black from any urban area and from white agricultural areas.” During the 170s, the government stripped thousands of blacks of their South African citizenship when it granted “nominal independence to their homelands.” In the 180s the government eased some apartheid regulations such as pass laws, but then ordered more systematic enforcement of restrictions on squatting. This had the same effect as restricting black residence in the cities.

Apartheid took out a huge human cost. While trying to create completely segregated residential areas, the South African government destroyed thousands of homes. Because of this, tens of thousands of people were forced to live in small substandard houses in bleak townships and poor service neighborhoods. Black families also broke apart because of limits of blacks in urban areas. Sometimes, one parent might have a permit and another may not causes a family member to stay behind.

Black political groups, sometimes supported by small numbers of sympathetic whites, opposed apartheid using a variety of methods. “Antiapartheid groups such as the African National Congress (ANC), Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), and the United Democratic Front relied on tactics such as strikes, demonstrations, sabotage, and other forms of violence. Nevertheless, resistance usually resulted in severe reprisals by the government. Many international organizations and groups were in total opposition to apartheid. “In 174 South Africa was expelled from the United Nations General Assembly, and in 177 the United Nations imposed a arms embargo on South Africa. In 185 the widespread international sanctions campaign culminated with sever nee sanctions imposed by the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom.”

South America indeed felt the pressure to dismantle the apartheid system, and in the early 10s President F. W. de Klerk began to do so. Black opposition groups such as the ANC and the PAC were legalized, and some political prisoners, such as ANC leader Nelson Mandela, were ordered to be released. “In 14 a new interim constitution was adopted, and free general elections were held for the first time in South African history. The constitution prohibited racial and other forms of discrimination and established limits on government power to prevent abuses such as those that occurred during apartheid.”

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