Racial Segregation - Historical Cases - South Africa

South Africa

The Apartheid system enacted a nation-wide social policy "separate development" with the National Party victory in 1948, following the "colour bar"-discriminatory legislation dating back to the beginning of the Union of South Africa and the Boer republics before which, while repressive to black South Africans along with other minorities, had not gone nearly so far.

Apartheid laws can be generally divided into following acts. Firstly, the Population Registration Act in 1950 classified residents in South Africa into four racial groups: "black", "white", "colored", and "Indian" and noted their racial identities on their identifications. Secondly, the Group Areas Act in 1950 assigned different regions according to different races. People were forced to live in their corresponding regions and the action of passing the boundaries without a permit was made illegal, extending pass laws that had already curtailed black movement. Thirdly, Under the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act in 1953, amenities in public area, like hospitals, universities and parks, were labeled separately according to particular races. What is more, the Bantu Education Act in 1953 segregated national education in South Africa as well.

Uprisings and protests against Apartheid appeared immediately when Apartheid arose. As early as 1949, the youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC) advocated the abolishment of Apartheid and suggested fighting against racial segregation by various methods. During the following decades, hundreds of anti-Apartheid actions occurred, including those of the Black Consciousness Movement, students’ protests, labor strikes, and church group activism etc. In 1994, Nelson Mandela won in the first multiracial democratic election in South Africa. His success fulfilled the ending of Apartheid in South African history.

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