Apartheid in South Africa Essay

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"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
-- Nelson Mandela -- 20 April 1964. Rivonia trial

Historical Background
South Africa is a land of abundant natural resources, mild climate, and fertile lands. Their resources range from diamond and gold to platinum and their land is fertile enough to feed the rest of the world if cultivated intensively. Yet many believed Africa to be the Dark Continent, a continent of poverty, harsh climate, and political turmoil (Woods 10). Though apartheid officially began in 1948, Africa’s history of racial domination and oppression began as early as the mid-17th century when the Dutch East India Company set up a provisioning station on the Cape (US Government Source).
White settlers from the Netherlands arrived in South Africa in the mid 17th century, forcing the occupants of South Africa out of their land or using them as laborers. The “Scramble for Africa” then came in the18th and 19th century where the French, British, Portuguese, Germans, Belgians, Spanish, and Dutch colonized and took control of almost all of the Fifty states which make up the African nation (Woods 15). By the 20th century, the British controlled most of northeast, east, west, center, and South Africa, and the French controlled most of northwest Africa.

Southern Africa was separated into four territories in the end of the 19th century, two of which were under British rule and the other two in the hands of the Afrikaners. The Black people did not have any political rights in these four territories and segregation was already in full force at this point. The Dutch descendants, also known as the Boers or Afrikaners, revolted against the British in the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902, trying to claim the two other colonies. They did not succeed and British rule was established in all four colonies.
By 1910, the four colonies were joined together under the Act of the Union, and the British handed the administration of the country over to the White locals. The Union preserved all regulations on black rights and also removed all parliamentary rights for Black people. In the three decades to follow until the Apartheid was established, racial segregation and white domination could be seen in all aspects such as land ownership, legal system, distribution of wealth and in the social relations.

Apartheid in Action
The apartheid was a creation of three hundred and seventeen laws by Dr. D.F. Malan’s nationalist party, which was elected in 1948. The apartheid only proceeded to add structure to the racial segregation and domination that already existed within the nation....

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