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Lesson: 13

Nelson Mandelaand Apartheid


South Africa was seized by the British from the Dutch settlers in 1902 (after the Boer War). It became part of the British commonwealth until the nation voted to leave in 1961. In 1948, the ruling party of South Africa (the National Party) voted to implement a series of restrictive segregationalist laws. Their goal was to separate South Africa's white minority from its non-white majority and separate non-whites from each other to decrease their political power. It was beneficial to white citizens to limit Black South Africans to increase their chances of gaining wealth. These laws, collectivelly were known as apartheid.

Apartheid, or "apartness" in the Afrikaans language, was an era between 1948 and 1994 in which South Africa was racially segregated, or separated, by law. During this time, Black Africans, who made up the majority of the population, were treated unfairly by the all-white government.

policies of Apartheid

  • This act requires every Black African over the age of 16 to carry passbooks, identification documents, with them at all times. These passbooks included an image of the person, place of birth, employment, tax payments, and how many times they encountered the police. The law monitored when, where, and how long a black person could remain in an area. If a Black South African was caught without a passbook or without a valid entry in a specific location, officials would arrest and imprison them.

The Pass Laws Act

Population Registration Act

Group Areas act of 1950

  • This Act gave every citizen a single racial identity, which outlined what they could or could not do, where, and with whom. Families of mixed race were forced to live in separate areas.

  • This act marked off areas of land for different racial groups and made it illegal for people to live not in their designated areas. The National Party forcibly removed black South Africans from rural areas assigned as "white" to the homelands and sold their land at low prices to white farmers. Residential segregation reserved the best living location in cities for white citizens and the slums, known as homesteads, for non-whites. More than 3.5 million people were forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to these areas. Homesteads were in poor conditions with minimal resources in the community compared to where the whites lived.

The ANC & Nelson Mandela

The African National Congress, or ANC, became the vehicle to fight apartheid in the 1950s. Nelson Mandela became a prominent member of the ANC in the early 1950s, and participated in numerous ANC-led protests against apartheid. In 1960, apeaceful protest of apartheid at the town of Sharpeville turned violent as South African policemen opened fire on the protesters, killing 69 and wounding another 180. After this, the ANC and Mandela began to advocate more violent methods of protesting the government. The government declared the ANC illegal and in 1962, Mandela was captured, arrested, and put on trial. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The End Of Apartheid

In 1989, F.W. DeKlerk came to power in South Africa. Almost immediately he renounced the ban on the ANC, and announced that Nelson Mandela became a free man after serving 27 years in prison. DeKlerk worked from within the government to end apartheid, while Mandela resumed his position as the head of the ANC, and worked to end apartheid from the outside. By 1991, most of the laws passed by the National Party had been replaced. De Klerk and Mandela created a new consitution that gave non-whites equal rights and freedoms. The Constitution offically ended apartheid in South Africa. In 1993, DeKlerk and Mandela jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts at ending apartheid in South Africa and moving the country peacefully to a nonracial democracy. In 1994, South Africa held the first all-inclusive elections (in which people of color could vote) and Mandela was elected President. Mandela served as President til June of 1999.