Apartheid in South Africa- Seconde- Anglais - Maxicours

Apartheid in South Africa

1. A brief history of South Africa
Situated at the southern tip of the continent of Africa, the region was first colonized by Dutch settlers who founded Cape Town in 1652. These people were known as the Boers.
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. Britain won.
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.

2. Apartheid
Apartheid means "separate development" in Afrikaans, the white South African language derived from Dutch.

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.

3. The Republic of South Africa
In 1960, the independence of South Africa was put to the vote in a whites-only election. Fifty-two per cent of the people chose to leave the Commonwealth and the country became a republic. Charles-Robert Swart was elected its first president in 1961.

Meanwhile, black dissatisfaction was growing. Clandestine movements, such as the African National Congress, worked at dismantling apartheid.
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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