Apartheid In South Africa


Apartheid means “separate or apart” this was set up in South Africa officially in 1948. The premise was white supremacy & the segregation of non-white South Africans. Apartheid meant that non-white people could not marry outside their race, choose where to live & could not travel freely. The government used the Cold War as a distraction, stating they had stable democracy & that they were Anti-Communist. Opposition to the apartheid rose from the ANC or African National Congress. The ANC stood for the destruction of Apartheid & a non-racial democracy. The ANC started out by preaching non-violent activism & passive resistance. The government responded by arresting thousands of protesters. The UN finally in 1952 declared apartheid a crime against humanity; however, no action was taken. In 1960 the ANC organised a protest in Sharpeville where the non-white protesters burned their identification papers, the police responded by killing 67 protesters. This became known as the Sharpeville Massacre. After the massacre, the ANC no longer preached non-violence.

In 1964, Nelson Mandela, an influential leader of the ANC was arrested & sentenced to life in jail for his part in the deemed “terrorist” organisation. Over the years, as the ANC grew, the youth became more involved. The youth was outraged by being forced to speak & learn the ruling party's language. The result was massive riots & demonstrations that caused the police to kill hundreds of black youth. This is known as the Soweto Massacre (1976). Finally nine years later, the opposition to apartheid intensified, internally & globally, causing the United States to apply sanctions (1985). The result was that Botha the South African prime minister clamped down on media & free speech. One year later (1986), the British Commonwealth applied sanctions, however without the support of Britain.

Internal resistance movement strengthened after African Unions won the right to bargain. They used this power to protest the apartheid by striking. They also met with ANC leaders to devise a strategy to bring the government to its knees. The effect of the strikes imploded the economy. With apartheid’s destruction in sight the Dutch Reform Church switched its opinion & became officially against apartheid. With the country on its knees, the newly appointed government met secretly with Nelson Mandela & planned a racial free democracy.
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