In this paper I will be talking about the history of South Africa and how it was segregated and how apartheid came about and give some acts that were used in order to segregate. I talk about the ANC and how the white government outlawed it. I will also show how the apartheid became a thing of the past and was accepted by the new government in order to make peace and bring unity.
The National Party went into power in 1948 to strengthen white Supremacy. The National Party made it obvious to the public that it identified this political, economic and social policy with the ideology of apartheid. They immediately made laws that gave apartheid a legislative reality, which could not be overturned easily. These laws separated whites and blacks and formed the theory that whites should be treated more favorably than blacks.
The Population Act of 1950 was the beginning for separating South Africas population into different races. There were only three different races and they were white, coloured and Bantu (black). This act helped pave the way for other acts that were strictly developed to separate whites and blacks. Listed below are just few of the acts:
The Group Area Act- mapped out areas that were black free
Mixed Marriage Act- made it illegal for whites and blacks to marry
The Immorality Act- made it illegal for whites and blacks to have sexual relations
Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Act- made it mandatory that their could only be white representatives when it came to politics
The National Party gained a tremendous amount of support from the white electorate. The National Party, which has five-year terms, was re-elected in 1953 and in 1958, which promoted segregation more and more.
While this is going on, the African National Congress (ANC) is fighting for the rights of black people.They were having many boycotts, sit-ins and walking to work instead of having to pay for a ride. While demonstrating in front of a police station in 1960, police fired on demonstrators killing sixty-seven and injuring one hundred eighty-six. A peaceful march took place a while later with 30,000 joined, but led to the arrest of over 18,000 of them. Leaders of the ANC were also arrested, including Nelson Mandela.
Prohibited from operating peacefully in South Africa, the ANC established underground organizations in 1961 to continue their struggle with the government. The ANC bombed police stations and power plants, but was very careful not to take any lives. In 1964 the police was successful in catching the ANC leaders and charging them with treason. All the leaders were sentenced to life in prison, including Nelson Mandela. Oliver Tambo escaped from South Africa and became president of
the ANC in exile. This was another win for the government as it continued to walk all over the blacks and coloured.
On May 31, 1961, South Africa officially became the Republic of South Africa. This was made possible because of a national referendum among the countrys white voters on October 5, 1960. The new constitution required a president, a Prime Minister and an executive council.
The 1961 constitution kept the white people in political domination through an electoral system that denied blacks, Asians and coloureds the right to vote for national office holders. Coloureds and Asians, only, won limited participation in ethnic affairs because of the Coloured Persons Representative Council of 1964. During the 1970s and the 1980s, four of the ten homelands were declared independent black states and the other six were know as self-governing states.
In the late 1970s and in the early 1980s there were a lot of legislative revisions that led to the new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act of 1984. The new constitution showed that the government was to be led by a president, who served as head of state and chief executive and a parliamentary system. The new system had more coloureds and Indian representation. The new, tricameral Parliament encompassed a (white) House of Assembly, a (coloured) House of Representatives and an (Indian) House of Delegates (Maguire, p.124). An eighty-eight member electoral college consisting of fifty whites, twenty-three coloureds and thirteen Indians selected the president.The president served for five years, which
was also the duration of the parliament that selected him. The president could get rid of the parliament or extend for six months past its five year term.
The president shared his power with a cabinet, which he chooses from the tricameral parliament and with the Ministers Council. The president also relied on a sixty-member council for advice on urgent matters and for resolution of differences among houses of parliament. The National Party dominated the Presidents Council throughout the ten-year duration of the 1983 constitution.
In July 1984, National Party leaders began to have secret meetings with the imprisoned ANC leaders. These meetings went on until May 1988 when the government formalized the meetings. Finally, on July 5, 1989, President P.W. Botha met with Nelson Mandela for their first face-to-face talks. Nelson Mandelas proposal outlined a power-sharing plan for the National Party and its political rivals and embraced the spirit of compromise that would be needed to weather the political turbulence that lays ahead (Sparks, p. 75). One month later Botha resigned due to his health, which brought in F.W. de Klerk.
Nelson Mandela and President F.W. de Klerk continued to negotiate and their talks led to a transformation in South African politics. On February 2, 1990, President de Klerk gave a historical speech in which he legalized over thirty anti-apartheid organizations, ordered the release of the ANC leaders, which included Nelson Mandela and announced that he was negotiating a democratic constitution with Nelson Mandela. In October of that year, the parliament took a big step toward
reform by revoking the Separate Amenities Act, an important legislative support of apartheid. On December 22, 1993, a temporary constitution was ratified and provided an outline for governing over the next five years. In 1999 the final copy of the constitution will be put into affect.
After over thirty years of fighting for their freedom, native South Africans finally got what they were wishing for. People are now free to go wherever they please not having to worry about getting arrested. I find it very interesting that South Africa has a lot of white people. This is the first time that I look into South Africa and Im surprised that it was run by white people. I dont mean to sound racist, but I thought South Africa was always run by Nelson Mandela or an authority like him. This paper has made me realize that there are still places that have the nerve to treat blacks like dirt. South Africans deserve to have their freedom.
Hyam, Ronald, The Failure of South African Expansion. New York: African Publishing Corporation, 1972.
Maguire, Keith, Politics in South Africa. British Library Cataloguing in Publications Data, 1991.
Meli, Francis, South Africa Belongs to Us. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.
Phillips, Norman, The Tragedy of Apartheid. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1980.
Sparks, Allister, The Mind of South Africa. New York: Alfred A. Knope, 1990.