Apartheid is the political policy of racial segregation. In Afrikaans, it means
apartness, and it was pioneered in 1948 by the South African National Party when it
came to power.
Not only did apartheid seperate whites from non-whites, it also segregated the
Blacks (Africans) from the Coloureds (Indians, Asians).
All things such as jobs, schools, railway stations, beaches, park benches, public
toilets and even parliament.
Apartheid also prevented blacks from living in white areas. This brought about
the hated "pass laws". These laws required any non-white to carry a pass on him or
her. Unless it was stamped on their pass, they were not allowed to stay in a white area
for more than 72 hours.
Despite the fact that the whites only make up just over 14% of the population, they
own 86.3% of the land. However, it must be said that the Afrikaaners are entitled to
the Orange Free State and Transvaal as they were first to use it after the Great Trek of
The average South African White earns eight times as much as the average black
man. Coloureds earn three times as much as black while colords earn well over half of
what whites earn.
AFRICANS 273 Rand per month
COLOUREDS 624 Rand per month
ASIANS 1,072 Rand per month
WHITES 1,834 Rand per
(source: Modern day South Africa, Jean Heyes,
During Apartheid, media censorship was at an all time high. People were even
banned from showing Soweto on television. It was common to see a newspaper shut
down, and then start again after being halted by the government.
Up until 1985, mixed marriages were banned. This meant that a person of one race
cold not marry a person of another race. Apartheid was not only used in theory, but
also by law. Every person was classifed, just like an animal, as white, black or
The system of Apartheid began to deteriorate in the mid to late 1980's. In 1985,
mixed marriages were allowed, the Pass laws repealed, and a general weakening of
petty segregation laws regarding parks and beaches.
In 1994, the entire system collapsed after Pres. F.W. de Klerk gave non-whites to
vote. Nelson Mandella was elected tooffice following his prison release in February
GROUP AREAS ACT
A Group Areas Act, froom 1948, set aside most of the coutntry for use by the
whites. Smaller, and less desiracle areas called 'bantustans' were set aside for blacks.
These areas are over crowded, un sanitory, and most of all, unhygenic. Soweto, a
large bantustan, is the size of Brighton, yet has over two million peopl in it.
Blacks were told to regard these desolate and unfertile areas as their 'homelands'.
Over half of the black South African population lived, not in these batustans, but in the
white areas of the country for cheap labour. Nonwhites had to live in shanty towns,
while the whites lived comfortably.
KEY GROUPS AND FIGURES
The AWB ( Afrikaans for Afrikaaners Resistance Movement) are an extreme right
wing group who seek the formation of a Volkstaat. A Volkstaat would be entirely
made up of Afrikaaners. Led by Eugene Terre'blanche, they resort to terrorist
activities such as bombings, shootings, weapon theft and raids on black townships to
achieve their aim. They are totally for segregation.
Born in 1946, he attended Natal University in 1966 to study medacine. After
leaving the white dominated National Union of students to form the all-black South
African Students Organisation. Aleading figure in the Black Conciosness Movement,
he formed the Black Peoples Convention, and several communtity based organisations.
In 1975, he was held without arrest for 137 days. Not surprisingly, he died in 1977
after being beaten in police custody after being taken from Port Elisabeth to Pretoria.
Born into the Royal Family of the Tembu in Transkei. For involvement in student
politics, he was expelledfrom Fort Haire University, but obtained a law degree by
correspondance. He established the first African law practise in Johannesburg along
with his partner Oliver Tambo. He co-founded the ANC with Youth League with
Tambo and Walter Sisulu and eventually became National President. In 1952, he was
arrested for the Defiance campaign, which blatantly broke Apartheid laws. In 1956,
Mandella was charged with High Treason. He was aquitted four and a half years later.
After the Sharpeville massaacre, Mandella helped form the military wing of the ANC.
He went into hiding and travelled abroad before being again arrested, this time for
illegally exiting the country in 1962, for which he recieved a sentence of five years.
Whilst serving this sentence, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for 'sabotage' and
'conspiracy to overthrow the government by revolution'. This was extremely unjust, as
he was charged with these offences under the Suppression of Communism Act, and
Mandella favoured a Westminster type democracy. Finally, after years of international
pressure, Mandella was released in February, 1990. In 1993, he shared the Nobel
Peace Prize and in 1994, became South African President.
Ordained as apriest in 1961, Tutu studied theology in London where he gaine dhis
asters degree in 1966. He became bishop of Lesotho in 1978 and was appoited
secretary-general of the South African Council of Churches in the same year. He was
honoured world-wide for his determination in resisting apartheid peacefuly. He
supported the Free Mandela campaign and promoted peaceful disobidience. Awarded
the Nobel piec prize in 1985, he was a powerful voice amongst those calling for
economic sanctions to be placed on South Africa. He was Archbishop of
Johannesburg, then Cape Town, befor retiring in 1995.
Born in Holland, Verwoerd was known as one of the 'architects of apartheid'
because he created the idea of bantustan and bantu education. In 1946, he became
vice-chairman of the National Party in Transval and then Minister of Native and Bantu
Administration in 1950. He became Prime Minister in 1958 and was assassinated eight
From 1948 to 1990, South Africa had an appaling record with regards to human
rights. Not only was Apartheid in use, but blacks were being killed on streets,
playground and even in their homes and police stations. The government organised
and condoned this behaviour. They breached Article of the decleration of human
rights by banning groups such as the ANC. Article was breached by the police when
they would arrest people for no reason. Finally Article was breached simply because
the South African Government, army and police force did not treat blacks equaly and
fairly like human beings.
With the Presidency of Nelson Mandella, and the leadership of the ANC, the
country looks set to put behind them the troubles of the past one hundred years,
however, with extremist groups and people such as the AWB and Eugene
Terre'Blanche, one can never be sure.