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Discrimination against nonwhites was inherent
in South African society from the earliest days. Since the British
settled in South Africa in 1795 there has been social, economic, and political
exclusion, being ruled by whites despite the fact that whites held about
10% of the population. (Msft. Encarta) Segregation and inequality
between whites and other races had existed as a matter of custom and practice,
but after 1948 these practices were made into laws that would not be changed
easily. These new laws marked the start of apartheid as the country’s
official policy as well as the start of the National Party’s reign of power.
The National Party stressed white supremacy and promoted separated development.
This separated development entitled that the races be segregated, moving
nonwhites out of urban areas into the outskirts of city into so-called"home lands" or bantustans with people of their own race. They also
implemented more laws; that determined what jobs nonwhites could get, what
type of education they could receive, who they could come into contact
with, the facilities they could use, what race they could marry, and the
positions they could hold in politics; none. The National Party,
under the control of Hendrik Verwoerd, further alienated nonwhite citizens
by passing a law that made them citizens of their own bantustans, not citizens
of South Africa. The National Party rationalized, saying that this
law gave blacks an opportunity to participate in a political process within
the bantustans. However, their real motives were get out of paying
welfare to millions of nonwhites without losing the benefits of an endless
supply of cheap labor. The entire ethnic population was in total
disagreement with the South African government’s attempt to eliminate their
rights. While the start of apartheid was not a memorable moment in
South Africa’s history, it was a major factor in shaping the nation.
Many political parties and organizations today, were formed through the
protest of apartheid from 1948 to 1990. These groups played a key
role in spreading disapproval of apartheid policies to the citizens and
officials of South Africa and ultimately lead to its removal.
From the induction of apartheid, there
has been much resistance to the policy. One group that adamantly
opposed the introduction of apartheid was the South African Native Congress,
which was formed by a group of black citizens in 1912. They protested
the land appropriation laws of that time and were opposed to the British.
Later renamed as the African National Congress, the organization increased
their following under the leadership of Nelson Mandela during the 1950’s
when the apartheid laws were being implemented. After decades of receiving
no response to their pleas for justice and equality, the group launched
a non-violent campaign in 1952 in which apartheid laws were deliberately
broken. The African National Congress’ goal was not to start a revolution,
but to try to change the existing system. In an attempt to do just
that, the ANC brought together 3000 delegates and signed the Freedom Charter.
This document stated that South Africa belongs to all its citizens and
that "every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and stand as
candidates for all bodies which make law." However, this document
was not recognized by the national government of that time. In 1960,
with the increase in the ANC’s involvement in protests and a new group
called the Pan-Africanist Congress’ protests, the South African government
feared more deaths so they banned all black African political organizations.
Mandela’s arrest sparked anger amongst all ethnic citizens and organizations
and produced a volatile environment. In an effort to ease tensions,
a constitution was drafted in 1984, which allowed Asians and Coloreds (milado)
to be in parliament but it still excluded black Africans who made up 70%
of the population. This, along with all the other race inequalities
and segregation brought the movement against apartheid to a raging climax.
Finally, with apartheid being criticized internationally, with nations
putting economic sanctions on them, and more riots by African organizations,
the government’s apartheid policies began to unravel. In a historic and
memorable day in 1992, the new president, F. W. de Klerk, announced an
official end to apartheid and released Nelson Mandela from prison.
This day had been long awaited and much earned. The South African
organizations had played a key role in protesting, and eventually the downfall
of the apartheid policies. These groups still exist today and are
influential in South Africa’s politics. With the inauguration of Nelson
Mandela as president in 1994, South Africa had experienced a complete turnaround
from racial inequality. The end of apartheid was a major, if not
the most important, event in this country’s troubled
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South Africa, Politics, Africa, Racial segregation, Afrikaner people, Apartheid in South Africa, Apartheid, Racism in South Africa, Bantustan, Nelson Mandela, F. W. de Klerk, African National Congress
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