August 19, 2022

Apartheid (pronounced ɐˈpartɦɛit in Afrikaans) was a policy that became a system of racial segregation carried out between 1948 and 1990 during the National Party governments in South Africa (and Namibia while it remained under South African trusteeship). The first mention of the word is in a speech by Jan Smuts in 1917, the then prime minister. It means "separation'" or more literally "apartment" in Afrikaans and Dutch, but the term has been adopted by many other languages, expanding its meaning to explain situations of racial discrimination, and claimed with more or less success by various peoples or oppressed groups. Racial segregation in South Africa began during colonialism, but the formalization of apartheid began after the general election of 1948. The new legislation classified the inhabitants into racial groups (white, black, colored and Indian) and the areas residential areas were segregated through forced relocations. Black residents were stripped of citizenship and transferred to one of the country's 10 tribal autonomous territories or Bantustans, four of which became independent states. The government segregated education, health and other public services, and reserved the highest quality for whites and the worst for blacks. Apartheid had considerable internal resistance. The government responded to the protests and uprisings by outlawing the opposition, promoting heavy repression and imprisoning the most significant anti-apartheid leaders, such as Nelson Mandela. The reforms promoted in the 80s failed to quell the opposition, and in 1990 President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to end the system. In 1994, multiracial elections were held by universal suffrage, which was won by Nelson Mandela's African National Congress.

Precursors of apartheid

British colonial legislators introduced new legislation in the Cape Colony and Natal Colony during the 19th century that sought to regulate migratory movements from tribal regions to colonized, white-occupied, and colored, British-ruled regions. Laws were passed not only to restrict the movement of blacks into these areas but also to prohibit movement from one district to another by anyone who did not have a signed permit. Blacks were not allowed to go out at night in these colonies and had to carry their passports with them at all times.

Election of 1948

In the 1948 elections the main Afrikaner party, the Herenigde Nasionale Party (Reunified National Party or NP) under the leadership of Protestant clergyman Daniel Malan campaigned in favor of apartheid legislation. The NP narrowly won the election against the United Party of Jan Smuts, an outspoken opponent of racial segregation laws, and formed a coalition government with another Afrikaner party. In this way Malan became the first prime minister of apartheid. The two governing parties later merged to form the National Party.

Apartheid System

Apartheid is often divided into big apartheid and little apartheid. The great apartheid refers to the attempt to divide South Africa into different states, while the small apartheid refers to the policy of racial segregation. The first was applied until the 90s, while the second was abandoned during the 80s.

Great apartheid

The creation of the Bantustans caused black citizens to be stripped of their citizenship and transferred to one of these territories. Bantustans occupied relatively small and economically unproductive tracts. However, many blacks never resided in the Bantustans that were assigned to them. The system revoked the right to vote to all those who resided in territories reserved for whites. E