Apartheid In South Africa Essay

2105 Words 9 Pages
Segregation is a concept as old as time, and it is not unique to the United States.
South Africa still suffers from the effects of an organized and government mandated
system of segregation called apartheid that lasted for over a quarter of a century.
Apartheid, literally translated from Afrikaans, means apartness (Mandela 40). It is
defined as a policy of racial segregation and “political and economic discrimination
against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa” (“Apartheid”). According
to Robin Cohen, South African apartheid was based on four basic premises: “white
monopoly of political power, the manipulation of space to achieve racial segregation, the
control of black labor, and urban social control”
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During this time, Nelson Mandela began
his life of activism against apartheid in South Africa (“Timeline”).
The 1960s

In 1960 Verwoerd passed the Unlawful Organizations Act that enabled him to
prosecute members of existing organizations (Massie 69). This was primarily used to
allow him to outlaw the African National Congress. The ANC had been formed in 1912
to “transcend all tribal differences in South Africa and bring the interests of Africans as a
whole to bear on the political process” (Massie xxvi); this mantra was in direct conflict
with Verwoerd’s apartheid plan. 1960 was especially bloody for opponents of apartheid
in South Africa. Protests climaxed in Sharpeville on March 21, 1960 where 69 protesters
were killed by direct submachine gun fire (Massie 64). In 1962 Nelson Mandela was

arrested and charged with various conspiracy and sabotage crimes that landed him in
prison for life; a majority of his sentence was carried out in the notorious Robben Island
prison (Mandela 101, 119).
The 1970s

In 1974 the United Nations removed South Africa from its ranks for refusal by the
government to abandon apartheid laws (“Timeline”). On June 16, 1976 students led a
peaceful protest in Soweto; police arrived to forcibly end the protest. By the end of the
next day, there were an estimated 178 deaths, although the true death toll was believed…