South Africa Paper
Discrimination against nonwhites was inherent in South African society from the earliest days. Since the British settled in South Africa in 1795 there has been social, economic, and political exclusion, being ruled by whites despite the fact that whites held about 10% of the population. (Msft. Encarta) Segregation and inequality between whites and other races had existed as a matter of custom and practice, but after 1948 these practices were made into laws that would not be changed easily. These new laws marked the start of apartheid as the country s official policy as well as the start of the National Party s reign of power. The National Party stressed white supremacy and promoted separated development. This separated development entitled that the races be segregated, moving nonwhites out of urban areas into the outskirts of city into so-called home lands or bantustans with people of their own race. They also implemented more laws; that determined what jobs nonwhites could get, what type of education they could receive, who they could come into contact with, the facilities they could use, what race they could marry, and the positions they could hold in politics; none. The National Party, under the control of Hendrik Verwoerd, further alienated nonwhite citizens by passing a law that made them citizens of their own bantustans, not citizens of South Africa. The National Party rationalized, saying that this law gave blacks an opportunity to participate in a political process within the bantustans. However, their real motives were get out of paying welfare to millions of nonwhites without losing the benefits of an endless supply of cheap labor. The entire ethnic population was in total disagreement with the South African government s attempt to eliminate their rights. While the start of apartheid was not a memorable moment in South Africa s history, it was a major factor in shaping the nation. Many political parties and organizations today, were formed through the protest of apartheid from 1948 to 1990. These groups played a key role in spreading disapproval of apartheid policies to the citizens and officials of South Africa and ultimately lead to its removal.
From the induction of apartheid, there has been much resistance to the policy. One group that adamantly opposed the introduction of apartheid was the South African Native Congress, which was formed by a group of black citizens in 1912. They protested the land appropriation laws of that time and were opposed to the British. Later renamed as the African National Congress, the organization increased their following under the leadership of Nelson Mandela during the 1950 s when the apartheid laws were being implemented. After decades of receiving no response to their pleas for justice and equality, the group launched a non-violent campaign in 1952 in which apartheid laws were deliberately broken. The African National Congress goal was not to start a revolution, but to try to change the existing system. In an attempt to do just that, the ANC brought together 3000 delegates and signed the Freedom Charter. This document stated that South Africa belongs to all its citizens and that every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and stand as candidates for all bodies which make law. However, this document was not recognized by the national government of that time. In 1960, with the increase in the ANC s involvement in protests and a new group called the Pan-Africanist Congress protests, the South African government feared more deaths so they banned all black African political organizations. Mandela s arrest sparked anger amongst all ethnic citizens and organizations and produced a volatile environment. In an effort to ease tensions, a constitution was drafted in 1984, which allowed Asians and Coloreds (milado) to be in parliament but it still excluded black Africans who made up 70% of the population. This, along with all the other race inequalities and segregation brought the movement against apartheid to a raging climax. Finally, with apartheid being criticized internationally, with nations putting economic sanctions on them, and more riots by African organizations, the government s apartheid policies began to unravel. In a historic and memorable day in 1992, the new president, F. W. de Klerk, announced an official end to apartheid and released Nelson Mandela from prison. This day had been long awaited and much earned. The South African organizations had played a key role in protesting, and eventually the downfall of the apartheid policies. These groups still exist today and are influential in South Africa s politics. With the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994, South Africa had experienced a complete turnaround from racial inequality. The end of apartheid was a major, if not the most important, event in this country s troubled history. This event symbolizes South Africa s freedom from oppression and the beginning of new life for ethnic citizens.
South Africa s history is incased with events that shaped the way the nation is today. Four of the most important events in their history are the Boer war, South Africa s independence, the induction of apartheid policies, and the end of apartheid. These four incidents, but not just these four, molded South Africa into the country it is today. The fight for independence as well as the fight to end apartheid was fought for the purpose of gaining and keeping the rights that the ethnic citizens, and South African people as a whole, deserved.