Ethnic races in South Africa, have always been highly disproportionate with Africans being the overwhelming majority and the whites the minority. The ratio of races has not changed much over the years. Today, South Africa (which is twice the size of Texas) is home to some 50-million people; 79.5% African, 11.5% Coloured and Indian/Asian and 9% are white ("South Africa's population," 2012.) Not unlike many European countries, South Africa has a history dating back to the 1600’s that is rooted in crimes against humanity. However, South Africa was one of the few countries that created formal laws to endorse full-blown racism. The term “apartheid” directly translated from its Afrikaans origin means “separateness,” and absolute separation of rights, based on race, is what the laws of apartheid embodied.
Through a brief recap of South African historical events, it is evident that native Africans have been treated as less than humane for centuries. The laws that governed slaves (known as Tulbagh Slave Code), dates back to 1753, and includes such laws as: curfews that required slaves to carry passes; slaves were forbidden to make any noise at night, including singing or whistling; slaves could not converse on the streets of Cape Town; and should they revolt in any manner perceived as violent, they were put to death (Mountain, 2005). Although its title changed, the practices of slavery continued in South Africa until 1994. Documented negotiations to end slavery can be seen as early as the 1893 when Mohandas (Mohatma) Ghandi began his crusade against racism known as “Satyagraha.” Although considered “war without violence”, Ghandi’s 1908 campaign stirred the Indian nation to protest en-mass by burning their passes. These actions would have been considered as hardball tactics, specifically aggressive/intimidation tactics, particularly from the perspective of the South African government. They worked, but only by a fraction (King, 1991). While the “Indian Relief Bill” was implemented, the apartheid regime was forging ahead.
In 1948, the driving force behind apartheid, the National Party, won majority seats in the general election. They won based on their policy of racial segregation (apartheid). Some laws instituted thereafter included: “Mixed Marriages Act”, which prohibited mix marriages. “The Immorality Act” which made sexual relations between a white person and a person of a different race a criminal offence. “The Population Registration Act” required all citizens to register as “white”, “black” or “coloured” – these races were determined by the following (Bobby-Evans, 2012):
A White person is one who is in appearance obviously white – and not generally accepted as Coloured – or who is generally accepted as White – and is not obviously Non-White, provided that a person shall not be classified as a White person if one of his natural parents has been classified as a Coloured person or a Bantu...A Bantu is a person who is, or is...