Politics And Apartheid Essay

1351 words - 5 pages

Bloodshot eyes and skin stretched over bones, these people were living skeletons. The dark-skinned citizens of South Africa could attribute their misfortune due to the state of politics in South Africa, where prejudice against dark skinned people ran as rampant as disease and poverty. Due to politics working against dark-skinned people beginning three years after South Africa gained its independence, apartheid was established and fought for by racists and against by activists until it was ended in 1991. The story of Kaffir Boy filled with personal insight and memories provides information on how apartheid made it legal for dark skinned to be discriminated against and the people politics involved with beginning and ending it, as well as the author’s role of ending apartheid.
Legal segregation began in 1913, only three years after South Africa gained its independence. Poverty struck when the Great Depression and the aftershocks of World War II took their toll, and needing a scapegoat fingers were pointed to the black Africans, surprisingly as this was the majority of the population of South Africa. In 1948, the Afrikaner National Party won the election and apartheid began in 1950 with the Population Registration Act. (history.com) During the events of the book, apartheid is in full swing. The author’s parents must carry around passes that they can’t afford to keep in date and do their best to acquire jobs in the places where they are permitted. There are often raids done on the town to ‘cleanse’ them- leaving many children without parents and any way to earn a meager living to support even the most basic needs for life. The author Mark was a part of the eighty percent of the population that was oppressed because of their dark skin color. He was blessed with the fact that all of his family was considered the same shade, so they were not split up. Under the Population Registration Act of 1950, families were split apart if they were not of the same pigment. (history.com) The government did this to try to break down the eighty percent and pit them against each other while turning them into a minority that could eventually be eradicated. These divisions to create disunity worked, unfortunately. Mark was often threatened at school because he played tennis and associated with white people. There were also multiple gang fights, and oftentimes the boys would band together because of their situations under the law- a law that believed that due to the color of their skin, they didn’t deserve to live. These frightful beginnings of apartheid took root because of humankind’s refusal to admit fault and need to blame others. It is also interesting to be noted that apartheid began similarly as anti-semitism did. Due to economic woes, people are willing to point fingers at anyone else to get back on the road to prosperity. Regardless of how the system was started, a government that does not serve its people can’t survive. This system of...

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