Music 's Influence On The Anti Apartheid Movement

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Music’s Influence on the Anti-Apartheid Movement

In 1948, the white government of South Africa began creating one of the most brutal systems of racial segregation the world has ever known. Under the minority rule of Afrikaners -- a Southern African ethnic group descending from Dutch settlers in the 17th century -- a unique system of racial separation and white supremacy called apartheid was created and legislated against the majority black inhabitants. Apartheid is an Afrikaans word which translates to “the state of being apart.” Lasting from 1948 until the early 1990s, an exploitative and unjust political system was imposed on the black native people of Africa. Dutch and British colonists dispossessed them of their homes, families, and
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According to the Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives, “The system was kept in place by a battery of repressive laws, under which people could be detained indefinitely without trial.” Despite this injustice, the people of South Africa continually fought back against their oppressors. Many forms of resistance were utilized -- mass protests, armed resistance, strikes and boycotts -- in order to dethrone the National Party. The resistance began as community-wide gatherings to protest the National Party, however as the tactics of the tyrannical white government developed through violent means, the Africans’ peaceful protests escalated to bloody rioting. The apartheid government is responsible for over 7,000 black deaths during the 46 years it was in power. What many people do not know, however, is that throughout all of apartheid, a single factor continually gave Africans the strength and courage to keep fighting for freedom: music. Music has historically been a large part of black culture, and from freedom songs to funeral processions, the people of Africa used music to come together and unite against the despotic government. This music could be found in different cultural avenues such as chants at protests, funeral processions, freedom songs, and airtime on local radio stations. After decades of pain and
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