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Apartheid in South Africa Essay

The Apartheid legislation was a system of governance that made a huge impact in South Africa in the 20th century. It was introduced by the national party after they were elected in the 1948 election. It was a form of segregation that discriminated against the races in South Africa. It was the law in South Africa for 46 years. The Apartheid sparked lots of internal resistance with violent riots and protests taking place by groups of people. Nelson Mandela was a leading force in the opposition on Apartheid and did everything in his powers to destroy it.

His voice was heard all over the country when he was the leader of Anti Apartheid movements and when he was in jail. Apartheid Legislation had a detrimental impact on society in South Africa. It was pioneered in 1948 by the newly appointed national party of South Africa when they came to power. The struggle for the end of Apartheid was long lived as it lasted until 1994 when the National party lost the election. Apartheid was the segregation of the South African people into different race groups such coloured, white, Asian and Indian. Residential areas were segregated as well as Education, medi-care, beaches, and other public areas.

Although the residential areas and other public facilities were separated, the quality of living for the blacks was substantially less than that of which the whites enjoyed. Sports in South Africa were also majorly affected as South Africa was banned from some international sports such as cricket. Women weren’t left out of the equation as they struggled to gain proper rights and freedoms as most of the men experienced. Black people or natives, over time, were deprived of their citizenships and forced to live in tribes with their own people away from the city.

Numerous laws were made that affected the black people immensely and stripped them of their rights and freedoms. Apartheid struck society hugely at the time of its induction and changed the way life was lived. Many factors contributed to the severity of Apartheid, no more so than the new laws that were created shortly after its introduction. These laws were made to discriminate directly against the blacks of South Africa and create white supremacy. As a result of these laws many black people in the community struggled for basic rights and freedoms. The first powerful law to be created was the Preservation of Separate Amenities Act 1953. This law separated all parts of society from blacks and whites.

The separation wasn’t equal and as a result of this the black people got the inferior side of every facility. This was the separation of every aspect of society from beaches and parks to toilets and shops. The main aim was to exclude citizens from Premises, vehicles or services based on their race. The best facilities were reserved for the white people. Education was not spared as another law was made (Bantu Education Act 1951) that restricted black children from receiving the same education as the white children.

The government at the time thought that the career opportunities for black kids were limited and they were best to learn skills that would help their families in their tribes. As of that day, the black children received a substantially lower level of education than the white children of South Africa. The government spent six times as much money on white education which only made up about 20% of the country at that time. Nelson Mandela valued Education so highly in his views and once said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. [1] Both of these laws helped to create a large gap in society between the black and white people, one being very much better off than the other. Apartheid in South Africa aimed to strip the black people of all their rights and freedoms. This was achieved by two controversial laws. The Abolition of passes act 1953 and the Bantu Homeland act 1952. The abolition of passes act forced black people to carry identification with them at all times. A pass included a photograph, details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, and encounters with the police.

It was a criminal offence to not be carrying a pass when encountered by a police officer. Africans were frequently harassed for their passes and countless numbers were arrested for it. Local citizens burned them or didn’t carry them as a sign of protest. Mass protests by blacks by not carrying their passes lead to the murder of 69 in the ‘Sharpeville Massacre’. The Bantu Homeland act was the second law that took everything away from the blacks. Through this law, the white government declares that the lands reserved for black Africans are independent nations therefore, not being a part of South Africa.

In this way, the government was able to strip millions of blacks of their South African citizenship and force them to become residents of their new homelands. Blacks were then considered foreigners in white-controlled South Africa, and needed passports to enter. Blacks only entered to perform jobs that assisted whites. The law was made to ensure that the White people of South Africa would inhabit most of the main areas of the country leaving the Blacks to live on the outskirts in shocking conditions.

A quote by an influential student leader Steve Bantu Biko “The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves. “[2] suggests that the blacks were sick of having no place in society and want their own rights and freedoms which was the obvious feeling at the time. This law is a huge violation of human rights and really emphasised the affects of the new government regime at the time. The Anti Apartheid movements were influential movements that fought for the destruction of Apartheid legislation in South Africa.

They were a worldwide movement that aimed to abolish South Africa’s government system of Racial Apartheid. The anti Apartheid movement came into action both within and outside South Africa. The ANC was the first movement to be created. A second organization Split from the ANC and called themselves the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). They used civil disobedience, strikes and protest marches to oppose the apartheid legislation. After the ‘Sharpeville Massacre’, when police opened fire and killed 69 protestors, the direction of the movement changed. The ANC decided to adopt armed resistance against the state.

This sparked many protestors to speak out. Both Organisations were banned after this Massacre and it forced them to move into hiding and continue their operations in private. They created an armed military wing ‘Umkhonto we Sizwe’ lead by Nelson Mandela and planned attacks on the state. After their first attack, their leader Mandela was sent to jail for life along with a few other leaders. At the trail to his sentence Mandela he said “We are not anti-white, we are against white supremacy … we have condemned racialism no matter by whom it is professed. [3]This quote shows that Mandela wasn’t racist and just wanted quality and proper human rights. Many bouts of protest broke out in South Africa after the massacre and trial, mostly by school students, and groups were made to speak out against the Apartheid legislation. The movement were starting to gain momentum and there voices were being heard further around the world. The Anti Apartheid movements were the cornerstone to the destruction of Apartheid legislation. The movements are the reason for the popularity loss of Apartheid and the rise of Nelson Mandela as a civil rights activist.

The Arrests and killing of influential members of the movement only sparked up a bigger, more aggressive reaction and more people wanted to get involved in the cause. The black conscientious movement was made by black tertiary students in 1971 and represented black pride. This idea of black pride empowered many South Africans to believe that they are a strong people and can fight for their rights. Students in Soweto in 1979 rose up against Apartheid inspired by many around them. While in protest 29 were killed and many injured by police opening fire.

This sparked more and more people to rise up against the state. Labour unions played a massive role in the struggle against apartheid. In 1979 as a result of the protesting, black trade unions were legalized which was a massive win. At the same time church groups also spoke out against the evils of Apartheid. All of these people were inspired by the actions of the Anti Apartheid movements that went before them. Thabo Mbeki a South African Politian summed up the views of many South Africans at the time by saying “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black or white. [4] This view was felt across the country by the struggling black people. The ANC and PAC affected most of the population of South Africa in some way and help get rid of the Apartheid legislation. They were the cause for the changes that took place in society over the years. Nelson Mandela played arguably the biggest role in the destruction of the Apartheid legislation in South Africa. Working with the ANC he Spoke out against Apartheid and the injustice to his people. Mandela worked hard as the leader of the ANC and planned many protests on the state to help push for the abolishment of Apartheid.

He was one of the most influential speakers of his time and many oppressed people heard his voice loud and clear. Under apartheid Mandela served nearly 27 years in prison but he never gave up the fight. When Mandela was imprisoned at Robben Island he continued his work and teachings. In South Africa and around the world, Nelson Mandela’s anti-apartheid messages gained in popularity. This meant that his voice was heard by more and more people. Many tried to free him when he was in jail. Support for Mandela was so immense that he was able to be equitted of his charges and released in 1990.

Before he was released the PM of South Africa at the time said “As soon as he renounces violence and undertakes not to start violence in South Africa, government will release him. “[5]The quotes suggest that the government did not want any further violence from his demonstrations in the near future otherwise he would be kept in jail and if he showed no signs of violence he would be let out. This shows trust between the two. He was able to become the leader of the ANC once again and was a leading force in South Africa. He was able to negotiate a multi-racial election in 1994 where his party won.

He became prime minister and with this he abolished Apartheid legislation. In his Inaugural speech as prime minister he says “Today we are entering a new era for our country and our people. Today we celebrate not the victory of a party, but a victory for all the people of South Africa”[6]. This optimism really highlighted his attitude towards life and freedom and is why he was such a loved and influential leader. Without his voice throughout the country and the world, South Africa would have struggled to get out the Government legislation that was Apartheid Apartheid legislation in South Africa was immensely influential on society.

It was one of the worst legislations to ever be put down by a government. The black community of South Africa was severely affected by this legislation with most of their rights and freedoms stripped off them. As a result of the laws and other factors, the majority of the native South Africans lived a lift without the freedom and rights that most enjoy today. Nelson Mandela with the help of the Anti Apartheid organisations pushed to stop the legislation in its tracks. He was eventually successful with his peruse of freedom and because of this he is one of the most influential men to have ever lived.


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