Apartheid in South Africa
English settlers soon joined them and Cape Town became an important trading post on the route to India.
The end of the eighteenth century saw a
period of unrest, with wars between the
Boers and African tribes such as the
Bantus and the Zulus.
Cape Town became a British possession in 1814, and the British began to settle in surrounding regions, which were then called British South Africa.
The Boer war (1899-1902) was a conflict
between the British and the Boers.
This led to the setting up of the South African Union in 1910. It was a British dominion of the Commonwealth, with its own government under British rule.
It remained so until the Republic of South Africa was proclaimed in 1961.
In 1948, Afrikaaners were elected to
govern the dominion, and they implemented the
apartheid policy, which consisted in separating
the whites from other ethnic groups.
Tribal and traditional African ways were recognized by the Black Authorities Act of 1951, and allowed to develop in exclusively black homelands.
In 1959, the Black Self-Government Act gave the basis for the independence of the nine ethnic groups identified in the country. Black homelands or territories were set up, so that the colored population would not mix with the whites.
Colored people had no rights, and lived in
townships (ghettos). They had to carry an
internal passport if they wished to travel
out of their homelands.
Finding decent jobs was very difficult for them. Their schools and hospitals were second-rate, and they lived in constant fear of the white police and armed forces.
Apartheid meant total segregation between the races in South Africa, with the power and the economy firmly in the hands of the white population.
Meanwhile, black dissatisfaction was growing.
Clandestine movements, such as the African
National Congress, worked at dismantling
Black activists were arrested, tortured and killed.
Pressure from the United Nations and a world-wide embargo on South African trade helped the fight against apartheid.
Finally when Frederik W. De Klerk was elected president in 1989, he freed ANC leader Nelson Mandela and began peace talks with the black leaders.
The Manifesto for a New South Africa published
in 1991 meant the end of apartheid. De
Klerk and Mandela obtained the 1993 Nobel
Peace Prize for their work.
In 1994 after an election in which all South Africans could vote for the first time ever, Nelson Mandela was elected president of the new Republic of South Africa.
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