Apartheid in South Africa Essay

Apartheid, according to the Cambridge Advanced Dictionary, is a political system in which different people of different races are separated. Between 1948 and 1994, South Africa underwent this system. It was a policy designed to separate the ‘white’ South Africans from the ‘black’. This law officially began after the Reunited National Party won the elections in 1948. Only the ‘white’ South Africans were allowed to vote and be part of the government, whilst ‘black’ Africans were completely forbidden. Laws and Legislation The ‘black’ Africans had been oppressed, controlled and dominated.

Strict legislations had been imposed. In 1949, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act was introduced which banned mixed marriages. In 1950, the Immorality Act forbade even any sexual relationships between white and black. If they were caught or even suspected, severe punishments followed especially for the blacks. A lot was done to keep the blacks from seeing or living with the whites. The Group Areas Act of 1950 separated the country into different areas allocated to either blacks or whites preventing them from staying with one another.

The Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act of 1951 gave ministers the right to remove all blacks housing on public of privately owned land. In 1953, people from different races were even stopped from using the same public amenities, for example dining, shopping or even using the restroom because of The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953. The Bantu Education Act in 1953 stopped black and white students from attending school together. New schools and universities were built for blacks and existing ones were no more allowed to enrol anymore blacks.

In 1956, racial discrimination began at workplaces too because of the introduction of another act. The blacks lost all their rights as citizens to South Africa that they previously had. The Separate Representation of Voters Act of 1951 removed blacks from the common voters’ roll. The Suppression of Communist Act of 1950 banned all gatherings of any political party which the government regarded as communist. Or, any organisations that may threaten the government’s stability and impose any danger were also forbidden.

The blacks were treated very badly and were entitled to no priviledges. The cruelty of the Apartheid went as far as punishing them for criminal acts without trial because of the Terrorism Act of 1967. Resistance and Opposition – The Sharpeville Massacre On the 21st of March 1960, a crowd of about 5000 people gathered in front of a police station in Sharpeville to surrender themselves against the charge of not carrying their pass books with them. It was planned by the Pan African Congress (PAC).

The objective of this was to get all the protestors arrested so prisons would fill up. Because of this lack of labour, the country would come to a standstill and as a result the pass law would be removed. At the beginning of this march, there were very few policemen at the station. In attempt of scaring away the crowd, low jets were flying but the protestors started waving at them thinking it was an air force display. Meanwhile, 300 policemen reached the station. A fight broke out outside the police station and a police officer was knocked down.

At that moment, the police started firing with being given the orders, starting a panic in the crowd. 67 people were killed and 186 others were wounded. The police claim that they only starting the firing because the crowd was throwing stones at them and they were armed with weapons. However, photos taken from the press later on showed that the crowd was unarmed and only their personal belongings such as their shoes and hats were left behind but at the time, no one dared to testify against the police because of the terror.

Bibliography:

? http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~cale/cs201/apartheid.hist.html ? http://www.rebirth.co.za/apartheid_sharpeville_massacre.htm ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa_under_apartheid ? http://home.snu.edu/~dwilliam/f97projects/apartheid/opposition.htm