Essential Question for TP #12 What were the geographical,economic, cultural, and political effects of the policy of Apartheid on black South Africans?
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The History of Apartheid in South Africa
South Africa was colonized by the English and Dutch in the 1600s (Dutch descendants are known as Boers or Afrikaners). The discovery of diamonds in South Africa and the lands owned by the Afrikaners/Boers around 1900 resulted in an English invasion which sparked the Boer War. By the 1940s the Afrikaners had gained a strong majority in the government and could do what they wanted in South Africa. Officials in the National Party invented apartheid (the separation of racial and ethnic groups and limiting the rights of black Africans) to maintain white domination of South Africa, while extending racial separation.
The apartheid laws were enacted in 1948, and racial discrimination was part of the country. Race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, the designation of “white-only” jobs and “white-only” areas of the cities. In 1950, the Population Registration Act required that all South Africans be racially classified into one of three categories: white, black (African), or colored (of mixed decent). A person could not be considered white if one of his or her parents were non-white. If a citizen did not obey the race laws they were dealt with harshly. All blacks were required to carry “pass books” containing fingerprints, photo and information on access to non-black areas.
In 1951, the Bantu Authorities Act established ethnic “homelands.” These homelands were independent states to which each black African was assigned by the government according to the record of origin (which was frequently inaccurate). All political rights, including voting, held by an African were restricted to the designated homeland. The idea was that they would be citizens of the homeland, losing their citizenship in South Africa and any right of involvement with the South African Parliament, which controlled the homelands. From 1976 to 1981, four of these homelands were created, denationalizing nine million South Africans. The homeland governments tried for independence but were always refused. Africans living in these homelands needed passports to enter South Africa. In a sense they were aliens in their own country.
In 1953, the Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act were passed. This act allowed the government to declare “states of emergency” to control the townships (poor black-only areas of S. Africa), and to give increased penalties for protesting the government or laws. The penalties included fines, imprisonment and often, whippings. The penalties imposed on political protest, even non-violent protest, were severe as well. During the states of emergency which continued intermittently until 1989, anyone could be held in jail without a hearing by a low-level police official for up to six months. Thousands of individuals died in jail, frequently after gruesome acts of torture.
During the many years of Apartheid there were numerous protests. The African National Congress (ANC) was just one group that fought apartheid, but it was the best-known group. In the 1950s it launched a campaign of civil disobedience in which ANC members openly violated apartheid laws. In 1960, a large group of blacks in the township of Sharpeville refused to carry their passes; the government declared a “state of emergency” in which white Afrikaner police freely roamed the township. The emergency lasted for 156 days, leaving 69 people dead and 187 people wounded. World opinion condemned the massacre. Some ANC leaders—among them black lawyer Nelson Mandela—now felt that they would have to confront violence with violence. In response, the government banned the ANC.
In 1961 Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd proclaimed South Africa a republic, and it withdrew from the British Commonwealth. The government arrested Mandela and other ANC leaders in 1962. Found guilty of treason, they all received life jail terms. Yet the ANC continued to operate, primarily from bases outside South Africa. Inside the country leaders such as Desmond Tutu, Steven Biko, and others continued to speak out against apartheid. Some, such as Biko, paid with their lives. An increasing number of white South Africans joined the anti-apartheid movement.
Meanwhile the government continued its policy of repression. In 1976 it passed a law that Afrikaans must be spoken in all South African schools. Black schoolchildren in Soweto were peacefully marching in protest when police fired on them, killing many. Over the next months outraged Africans rioted all over the country. Many were no longer willing to wait for change.
In the 1980s, faced with protests at home and abroad, the government began to retreat from its strict apartheid policies. Constitutional reforms gave some political voice to "Colored," or mixed race, and Asian South Africans. Black Africans, however, were still denied any political participation. To pressure South Africa to change its racist policies the international community imposed economic sanctions (penalties).
In September 1989 F. W. de Klerk was elected president of South Africa. De Klerk lifted a 30-year ban on anti-apartheid rallies and legalized the ANC and other banned organizations. Mandela was released on February 11th, 1990.
De Klerk hoped that Mandela and other opposition leaders would meet with him to discuss ways to build a new South Africa. The promise of reform, however, did not end the violence. A fight for leadership of the black population broke out between the ANC and the largely Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party. Thousands of black South Africans died in the next 15 months. In addition, not all whites supported de Klerk.
In 1994 South Africa held its first all-races elections. Nelson Mandela was elected president. He called on the people to "heal the wounds of the past." However, Mandela's government faced the challenges of desperate poverty and an AIDS epidemic. Mandela retired in 1999 and was succeeded by Thabo Mbeki.
Citation: "The History of Apartheid in South Africa." Student Information. Web. 16 Dec. 2010.
There is no need to write in complete sentences. Please make sure you are giving complete answers.
What is Apartheid?
What did the apartheid laws of 1948 do to black Africans.
What were the penalties for protesting the government or the laws of apartheid?
What did the South African government declare in order to “control” the townships when they got out of hand?
In South Africa, how long could a person be held in jail without a hearing?
What happened in the 1980s to give a little hope to minorities of South Africa?
Who were the two primary political leaders that ended Apartheid in South Africa?
Answer the questions that follow by using the table included in the article.
Whites held _______% of the land in South Africa.
The difference in dollars spent on education between white and black students was $________.
There was 1 doctor per ______________ black Africans.
Give as many HISTORICAL examples of injustice on the part of the Afrikaners and English towards the Blacks of South Africa? Please remember that this is a FICTIONAL movie so any instances of injustice towards a specific individual character can probably be enlarged to encompass a larger injustice to those people in general in society.
What would you do if faced with a situation where you felt the laws of a country were unjust towards you and your friend or family?
The 16th Man Documentary Observations
List the historical examples of injustice towards the blacks of South Africa that appear in the documentary.
What was the importance of the Rugby World Cup, held in 1995, to the people of South Africa?
South Africa: Nelson Mandela’s Address
Upon his release from prison, February 11, 1990
On February 11 1990, Nelson Mandela, after more than a quarter century behind bars, walked through the gates of Victor Verster Prison. Afterwards, he addressed the nation before a huge rally in Cape Town. The speech was broadcast live around the world. He was inaugurated president of South Africa in Pretoria on May 10, 1994.
I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.
On this day of my release, I extend my sincere and warmest gratitude to the millions of my compatriots and those in every corner of the globe who have campaigned tirelessly for my release.
I send special greetings to the people of Cape Town, this city which has been my home for three decades. Your mass marches and other forms of struggle have served as a constant source of strength to all political prisoners.
I salute the United Democratic Front, the National Education Crisis Committee, the South African Youth Congress, the Transvaal and Natal Indian Congresses and COSATU and the many other formations of the Mass Democratic Movement.
I also salute the Black Sash and the National Union of South African Students. We note with pride that you have acted as the conscience of white South Africa. Even during the darkest days in the history of our struggle you held the flag of liberty high. The large-scale mass mobilization of the past few years is one of the key factors which led to the opening of the final chapter of our struggle…
I extend my greetings to the working class of our country. Your organized strength is the pride of our movement. You remain the most dependable force in the struggle to end exploitation and oppression.
I pay tribute to the many religious communities who carried the campaign for justice forward when the organizations for our people were silenced.
I pay tribute to the mothers and wives and sisters of our nation. You are the rock-hard foundation of our struggle. Apartheid has inflicted more pain on you than on anyone else.
On this occasion, we thank the world community for their great contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. Without your support our struggle would not have reached this advanced stage. The sacrifice of the frontline states will be remembered by South Africans forever.
My salutations would be incomplete without expressing my deep appreciation for the strength given to me during my long and lonely years in prison by my beloved wife and family. I am convinced that your pain and suffering was far greater than my own…
Today the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. The mass campaign of defiance and other actions of our organization and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy. The destruction caused by apartheid on our sub-continent is in-calculable. The fabric of family life of millions of my people has been shattered. Millions are homeless and unemployed. Our economy lies in ruins and our people are embroiled in political strife. Our resort to the armed struggle was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement will be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle…
Today, I wish to report to you that my talks with the government have been aimed at normalizing the political situation in the country. We have not as yet begun discussing the basic demands of the struggle. I wish to stress that I myself have at no time entered into negotiations about the future of our country except to insist on a meeting between the African National Congress and the government.
Mr. De Klerk has gone further than any other Nationalist president in taking real steps to normalize the situation. However, there are further steps as outlined in the Harare Declaration that have to be met before negotiations on the basic demands of our people can begin. I reiterate our call for the immediate ending of the State of Emergency and the freeing of all, and not only some, political prisoners. Only such a normalized situation, which allows for free political activity, can allow us to consult our people in order to obtain a mandate.
The people need to be consulted on who will negotiate and on the content of such negotiations. Negotiations cannot take place above the heads or behind the backs of our people. It is our belief that the future of our country can only be determined by a body which is democratically elected on a non-racial basis. Negotiations on the dismantling of apartheid will have to address the over-whelming demand of our people for a democratic, non-racial and unitary government of South Africa. There must be an end to white monopoly on political power and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratized.
It must be added that Mr. De Klerk himself is a man of integrity who is acutely aware of the dangers of a public figure not honoring his undertakings. But as an organization we base our policy and strategy on the harsh reality we are faced with. And this reality is that we are still suffering under the policy of the Nationalist government.
Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. We call on our people to seize this moment so that the process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted. We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive. The sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts.
It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured. We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa. The freedom movement is a political home for you too. We call on the international community to continue the campaign to isolate the apartheid regime. To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process towards the complete eradication of apartheid.
Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way. Universal suffrage on a common voters' role in a united democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.
In conclusion I wish to quote my own words during my trial and imprisonment in 1964. They are true today as they were then:
'I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.'
Citation: Mandela, Nelson. "Nelson Mandela: Speech Upon Release from Prison 1990." John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Web. 4 May 2012.
There is no need to write in complete sentences. Please make sure you are giving complete answers.
For how many years had Nelson Mandela been imprisoned?
What does Mandela identify as some of the problems with the policy of apartheid?
According to Mr. Mandela, what two things would help “normalize” the political situation in South Africa?
What three demands made up the political demand of the people of South Africa for their government?
Give two examples of how Nelson Mandela compares with Gandhi.