Source: Agency

Apartheid background

| 11.3.22 |

Apartheid background

 The word apartheid is taken from the Afrikaans language, apart which means to separate and heid which means system or law. According to this politics of color difference, white people have the highest status, followed by Indians and people of color, then black Africans. In practice, this system led to political and economic discrimination against black people. Therefore, apartheid's politics was opposed both in South Africa and by countries around the world. 

Although the political implementation of Apartheid officially started in 1948, the origins of this problem can be traced back to the early 19th century. Since the mid-17th century, the Boers (Dutch) began to colonize South Africa in order to control its natural resources. They also implemented the practice of slavery, in which one of the rules was that slaves had to get permission from their masters if they wanted to travel far. By the end of the 18th century, these regulations applied not only to slaves, but also to the entire Khoikhoi (one of the indigenous tribes of South Africa). This rule continued to apply, when the Boers were defeated by the British in the early 19th century. Even according to Regulation No. 49 of 1828, black people must be given permission first if they want to find work. 

When England implemented the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1833, the status of slaves was changed to contract workers. However, the current regulations still legalize racism against non-white people. Throughout the late 19th century, the rights of non-whites were increasingly stripped of, such as restrictions on the number of land holdings and the right to vote. In the first decades of the 20th century, black people were not allowed to vote. In addition, they and people of Indian descent are prohibited from entering certain areas.

In 1910, the Union of South Africa was founded, which is a special country with a British constitution. Since then, racial discrimination continues to be. Here are some examples of cases. 

•The South African Act (1910), gave whites suffrage and political control over all other racial groups, and abolished the right of blacks to sit in parliament. 

•The Land Act (1913), curtailed the rights of blacks in land ownership. 

•The Indigenous Peoples in Urban Areas Act (1918) was designed to force black people to live in certain areas. 

•Urban Territories Act (1923) segregated residence and provided cheap labor for white-led industry. 

•The Administration Act (1927) made the United Kingdom the supreme head of all African affairs 

•Asiatic Land Ownership Act (1946), prohibits the sale of land to Indians and South African Indians. 

 Racial discrimination was exacerbated when the African National Party won elections in 1948. Members of this party are from white ethnic Dutch descent (Afrikaner) who control politics and government in South Africa. After they won the election in 1948, the African National Party then declared South Africa a white nation. 

While other racial groups other than white people do not have full political and citizen rights. The population of South Africa is also classified into four major groups, namely white or European descent, ethnic Bantu (one of the ethnic groups in South Africa), Asian (mostly Pakistani and Indian), and people of color or mixed blood. The Apartheid regime discriminated against black South Africans through state law.

In practice, there is a division of living space between races in South Africa. Whites got 87 percent of South Africa, while blacks only got 13 percent. In addition, discriminatory practices occur in the educational, social, and cultural fields. The Prime Minister of South Africa, Hendrik F Verwoerd (1958-1966) said that it would be a mistake if the people of South Africa lived in equality. Since then, the South African people's resistance to the implementation of the apartheid policy has continued to resonate. 

Even discrimination against people of color is also criticized by the international community. After a long struggle, President Frederik Willem de Klerk announced the abolition of all provisions and the existence of the Apartheid political system on February 21, 1991. One form of movement against Apartheid is the African National Congress (ANC) led by Nelson Mandela.

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