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School TodayThe struggle against Apartheid system

The struggle against Apartheid system

Published: 6th Dec 2021 10:56 pm

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the trading companies from Europe occupied colonized South Africa. Apartheid was the name of system of racial discrimination unique to South Africa imposed by white Europeans colonizers. Apartheid system symbolized extremes of colonialism and racism. In 1994 after long struggle against apartheid, South Africa finally attained freedom and new constitution banned apartheid and granted equal rights to all irrespective of their race.

Policies under apartheid system

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No voting rights for non-whites: The system of apartheid divided the people and labelled them on the basis of their skin colour. The white rulers treated all nonwhites as inferiors. The non-whites did not have voting rights.

Strict Segregation: The apartheid system was particularly oppressive for the blacks. They were forbidden from living in white areas. They could work in white areas only if they had a permit. Trains, buses, taxis, hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges, libraries, cinema halls, theatres, beaches, swimming pools, public toilets, were all separate for the whites and blacks. They could not visit the churches where the whites worshipped.

Ban on formation of association and protests: Blacks could not form associations or protest against the extreme discriminatory treatment. This hindered their capacity to fight against apartheid peacefully.

Role played by India

Soon after assuming office Nehru declared that India’s policy is the ending of colonialism all over Asia, Africa and elsewhere and racial equality ,and the end of domination or exploitation of one nation by another.

Gandhi’s Impact: Despite his great respect and sympathy for the Africans, Gandhi’s political activities were confined essentially to the Indian community. His influence on the freedom movement in South Africa country was, therefore, by example. The bond between the national movements of India and South Africa became stronger during the Second World War.

India’s complaint to the United Nations in 1946 on racial discrimination South Africa was made even before the establishment of a national Government, because of strong public sentiment in the country.

India against apartheid in major International Organizations: India co-sponsored the General Assembly resolution of 1962 urging all States to impose sanctions against South Africa and establishing the Special Committee against Apartheid. 

Long journey against discrimination

1952- Nelson Mandela leads a campaign of civil disobedience against apartheid

1960 -Protesters in Sharpeville refuse to carry ID passes

Government declares state of emergency, and 69 people die amid police violence

The African National Congress (ANC) and Pan-African Congress are banned

1961- Mandela leads the armed branch of the ANC

1964 – Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and 6 others are sentenced to life in jail

1970 – The Black Consciousness Movement, led by Steve Biko, helps unify black groups in opposition to apartheid

1976 – The Soweto uprising against discrimination and teaching in Afrikaans.

Police fire on protesters. 575 people are killed

1977 – Biko is arrested and killed in custody

1980- The international campaign to boycott South Africa cripples the economy

Under pressure, the government repeals some segregationist laws

1990- The ban on the ANC is lifted

Mandela is released after 27 years in prison, 4 months after Kathrada

1991 –President FW de Klerk repeals apartheid laws and calls for a new constitution

1994 – The first multiracial elections. The ANC wins 63% of the vote.

Mandela becomes President

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