So as to completely understand the growth of apartheid (Afrikaans: apartness) and its resulting in polices, it’s crucial that the history of South Africa before 1948 first be understood. For several years this area, once known as the Boer Republic, had been ruled by whites that had come from Europe. Up until 1899, this region was dominated by Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers.
This Second Boer War, which lasted almost three decades, would end in a British victory. The two Boer republics were annexed by the British Empire and were then incorporated in the Union of South Africa in 1910. Regardless of the fact that they had been enemies, Great Britain and the Union of South Africa became allies and joined forces against the German Empire in World War I. Former generals from the Boer War against Great Britain, Prime Minister Louis Botha and Defense Minister Jan Smuts, were both members of the Imperial War Cabinet
Defense Minister Smuts was a part of the United Party. Malan became the prime minister, and consequently was launched the era of apartheid.
Apartheid legislation in reality wasn’t anything new, as it was actually based on former British legislation that Great Britain had put into place after the Anglo-Boer war in a bid to maintain the various races segregated. Using the British legislation as a model, the NP leaders concluded that South Africa wasn’t a united nation, but instead four countries separated along racial lines. Though some of the reasoning might appear strange to us now, they were actually in line with the majority of beliefs of their day that tended not to only look back on interactions between different races, but in most instances deemed them immoral, or even in certain scenarios illegal.
Though there were several sub-groups designated, the nation was split into four main racial groups: blacks, whites, Indians, and coloured. The whites were immigrants from or descendants of English and Afrikans speaking immigrants from Europe.
There were two kinds of apartheid laws instituted: grand apartheid and petty apartheid. Grand apartheid was the separation of individuals along racial lines. The grand apartheid laws split the cities into little townships where people were transferred to based on skin colour. All interaction between the races was prohibited. Petty apartheid laws were those coping with everyday places such as clubs, beaches, restaurants, and such.
An article on the web site Stanford.edu says”that with the enactment of apartheid legislation in 1948, racial discrimination was institutionalized. Race laws touched every part of social life, such as a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of”white-only” jobs.”
The next such law was that the Population Registration Act of 1950 which required people to take an identification card suggesting that racial group they belonged to.
This apartheid law formally sanctioned the separation of the races into regions based solely on race. Forced removal was frequently implemented.
According to a post on the site africanhistory.about.com, the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act 0f 1953 has been”forced segregation in most public amenities, public buildings, and public transportation with the purpose of eliminating contact between whites and other races. The act said that facilities provided for different races do not have to be equal.” (Boddy-Evans)
The Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 prohibited the South African Communist Party and any other party that subscribed to some kind of Communism. The legislation was written in such a broad sense, however, that any kind of government that opposed apartheid could be prohibited regardless of whether it had anything to do with communism or not.
The Bantu Education Act of 1953 established a system of universities and schools which were tailored to individual races. With this sort of educational system, it made it impossible for blacks to become anything besides common laborers.
Other nations, by means of the United Nations (UN) started to show concern with the apartheid legislation in 1946, but it was deemed that this was an internal affair better left to the maintenance of South Africa. Finally, in 1960, following the Sharpeville Massacre, where 69 protestors were killed by authorities, the UN agreed on a concerted action against apartheid. It was demanded that apartheid and racial segregation be removed in South Africa.
In 1962 the UN passed Resolution 1761 which officially condemned the South African policies. Apartheid became formally illegal and was categorized as a crime against humanity, open to prosecution for some perpetrators.
Throughout the 1980s, many leaders attempted to reform apartheid in a bid to quell several uprisings, but to no avail. It had been determined that the only way to address the problems in South Africa was to repeal the apartheid legislation and in 1990 then President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to repeal them. Although All of the apartheid laws were repealed in 1990, the recognized end of apartheid wasn’t until 1994 when South Africa held its first non-
Racial general elections that were won by the African National Congress under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, who just 4 years prior was released from prison after serving 27 years of a life sentence for leading protests against apartheid.