History Of South Africa Apartheid. The History Behind South Africa. It Includes How Segregation Affected South Africa's Future

2102 words - 8 pages

The following essay is mainly about the history behind South Africa. It includes how segregation affected South Africa's future. Segregation has caused many rebellions, wars, and fights throughout South Africa's history.

Apartheid Instituted

Discrimination against nonwhites was inherent in South African society from the earliest days. A clause in the Act of Union of 1910 provided that the native policies of the provinces would be retained and could be changed only by a two-thirds majority vote of parliament. In Cape Colony the Coloured and a few black Africans could vote, a right not available in the other three provinces. The Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, in a 21-year period before World War I, led the struggle to assure civil rights for Indian residents. Despite some government concessions, including abolition of the poll tax, the Indian population still had second-class status after the war.

South African blacks had an even lower status in the white-dominated state. Urban blacks lived in segregated areas and could not hold office or vote. They had no viable labor unions, and technical and administrative positions were closed to them. Even so, the National party, which had been formed in 1914, accused Prime Minister Smuts of allowing whites to be swallowed in a black sea. In the 1948 elections the National party, led by Daniel F. Malan, won a narrow victory and began to implement its harsh concept of apartheid, which was designed to separate the races economically, politically, geographically, and socially. Strikes and protests for economic and political rights by non-Europeans in the aftermath of World War II-inspired in part by the anti-colonial movement in Asia and Africa-had emboldened racist forces to take steps to head off any new militancy. The government's position was strengthened when the National party merged with the smaller Afrikaner party in 1954. Malan, with growing support in parliament, introduced several laws designed to relegate all nonwhites to permanent inferior status. A severe anti-Communist law (equating communism with political, economic, or social changes brought about by unconventional means) was passed in 1950, marriage between whites and blacks was made a crime, and education for blacks was defined differently than for whites. Most drastic was the Group Areas Act of 1950 which, augmented by later legislation, provided that specific areas be reserved for each of the four main racial groups, that is, the Europeans (whites), Bantu (blacks), Coloureds (mixed race), and Asians. These laws and the homelands concept, which denied blacks the right to live in cities without special permission, were the foundations of apartheid. All blacks were assigned to specific tribal areas and had to carry passes when they entered restricted (white) areas. The goal was to create so-called homelands for all blacks. In response to these harsh policies, the ANC decided to pursue a more militant stance through mass...

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