In order to completely understand the rise of apartheid (Afrikaans: apartness) and its ensuing polices, it is necessary that the history of South Africa prior to 1948 first be comprehended. For many years this area, once known as the Boer Republic, had been ruled by whites that had come from Europe. Up until 1899, this area was ruled by Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers. When the British Empire invaded in 1899, the Boer republic consisted of two separate states: the South African Republic, and the Orange Free State.
This Second Boer War, which lasted nearly three decades, would end in a British victory. Both Boer republics were annexed by the British Empire and were subsequently incorporated into the Union of South Africa in 1910. In spite of the fact that they had once been enemies, Great Britain and the Union of South Africa became allies and joined forces against the German Empire in World War I. Former generals in the Boer War against Great Britain, Prime Minister Louis Botha and Defense Minister Jan Smuts, were now both members of the Imperial War Cabinet
Defense Minister Smuts was a part of the United Party. Malan became the prime minister, and thus was launched the era of apartheid.
Apartheid legislation in reality wasn’t anything new, as it was actually based on former British legislation that Great Britain had put into place after the Anglo-Boer war in a bid to keep the different races segregated. Using the British laws as a model, the NP leaders reasoned that South Africa was not a united nation, but instead four countries separated along racial lines. While some of their reasoning might appear strange to us today, they were in fact in line with most beliefs of their day that tended not to only look back on interactions between different races, but in many instances deemed them immoral, or even in certain scenarios illegal.
Although there were several sub-groups designated, the country was split into four main racial groups: whites, blacks, Indians, and coloured. The whites were either immigrants from or descendants of English and Afrikans speaking immigrants from Europe.
There were two types of apartheid laws instituted: grand apartheid and petty apartheid. Grand apartheid was the separation of peoples along racial lines. The grand apartheid laws split the cities into little townships where people were transferred to based on skin color. All interaction between the races was prohibited. Petty apartheid laws were those dealing with everyday places such as clubs, beaches, restaurants, and the like.
An article on the website Stanford.edu says”that with the enactment of apartheid legislation in 1948, racial discrimination was institutionalized. Race laws touched every part of social life, such as a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of”white-only” jobs.”
The second such law was the Population Registration Act of 1950 which required people to carry an identification card suggesting that racial group they belonged to.
This apartheid law formally sanctioned the separation of the races into areas based solely on race. Forced removal was often implemented.
According to an article on the site africanhistory.about.com, the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act 0f 1953 was”forced segregation in most public amenities, public buildings, and public transportation with the purpose of eliminating contact between whites and other races. The act said that facilities provided for different races need not be equal.” (Boddy-Evans)
The Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 banned the South African Communist Party and any other party that subscribed to any form of Communism. The legislation was written in such a broad sense, however, that any kind of government that opposed apartheid could be banned regardless of whether it had anything to do with communism or not.
The Bantu Education Act of 1953 established a system of schools and universities that were tailored for individual races. With this sort of educational system, it made it impossible for blacks to become anything besides common laborers.
While interracial contact in game was frowned upon, there were no official laws separating the races in sports.
Other nations, by way of the United Nations (UN) began to show concern about the apartheid laws in 1946, but it was deemed that this was an internal affair better left to the care of South Africa. Finally, in 1960, after the Sharpeville Massacre, in which 69 protestors were killed by authorities, the UN agreed on a concerted action against apartheid. It was demanded that apartheid and racial segregation be eliminated in South Africa.
In 1962 the UN passed Resolution 1761 which formally condemned the South African policies. Apartheid became formally illegal and was categorized as a crime against humanity, open to prosecution for any perpetrators. In 1977 Resolution 181 was changed from a voluntary to a mandatory arms embargo.
Throughout the 1980s, many leaders attempted to reform apartheid in a bid to quell several uprisings, but to no avail. It had been determined that the only way to solve the problems in South Africa was to repeal the apartheid laws and in 1990 then President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to repeal them. Although All of the apartheid laws were repealed in 1990, the recognized end of apartheid wasn’t until 1994 when South Africa held its first non-
Racial general elections which were won by the African National Congress under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, who only 4 years prior was released from prison after serving 27 years of a life sentence for leading protests against apartheid.