Nelson Mandela and the South African Apartheid

11 November 2016

South Africa was colonized by the English and the Dutch in the seventeenth century. The domination by the English resulted in the Dutch establishing new colonies. The two colonies were called Orange Free State and Transvaal. Soon after the Dutch discovered that the land had an abundance of diamonds. Once the English found out, they invaded the colonies which sparked the beginning of the Boer War.

After the war ended and the Dutch gained independence, the National Afrikaner Party gained power. From there, the National Party came up with the apartheid. The apartheid was intended to cement their control over the economic and social system. It was also intended to keep white domination while extending racial separation. Even though it was a violation of international law, the South African government passed laws that created “grand apartheid”. The first apartheid laws were passed in 1948. These race laws touched every aspect of social life.

Nelson Mandela and the South African Apartheid Essay Example

The laws included, no marriage between non- whites and whites and they even sanctioned white only jobs. In 1951, a law was passed making it a criminal offence for a black person to work in any urban areas. The ratio of earnings for blacks and whites was one to 14. In 1950, the Population Registration Act required that South Africa be racially classified into three categories: white, black, and colored (mixed decent). In 1951, The Bantu Authorities Act required that blacks were assigned to homelands.

All their rights were restricted to each specific homeland, even voting. In 1951, the Separation Representation of Voters Act led to the removal of colored from the common voter’s poll. They were no longer citizens of South Africa. From 1976 to 1981, four homelands were made, denationalizing nine million South Africans. Africans living in homelands needed passports to enter South Africa, they were aliens in their own country. The land allocation for blacks was thirteen percent and eighty- seven percent for whites. In 1953, the Bantu Education Act was passed.

Instead of being taught the regular curriculum, they were taught information that suited the “nature and requirements of the black people”. They received education that provided them with skills to serve or to work in laboring jobs under whites. During the apartheid the estimated cost spent on education per student for blacks was forty- five dollars. The estimate for whites per student was six hundred and ninety- six dollars. The teacher to pupil ratio for blacks was one to sixty. The teacher to student ratio for whites was one to twenty-two.

The penalties imposed on protests, violent or non- violent, were extremely serious. Anyone could be put in jail with no hearing by any level police official for up to six months. Thousands of African died in custody, usually after extremes of torture. Some who were tried were either banished or sentenced to death. Most were sentenced to life in prison, like Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela was a dominant figure in the South African liberation movement. All of Mandela’s protests were in the form of passive resistance.

He worked with the African National Council (ANC) in an attempt to stop the apartheid efforts. In one protest, Mandel a publicly burnt his pass book. All blacks were required to carry “pass books” consisting of fingerprints, photo and information when in non-black areas. If you were caught without your pass book you would be arrested and put in jail for a minimum of thirty days. Mandela was tried for treason and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. He spent twenty- seven years in prison but he never gave up.

He continued his teachings while in prison while Robben Island. Mandela’s anti- apartheid messages were heard in South Africa and throughout the world. He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom. Of course Mandela did not act alone while protesting, but his voice held power and eventually the battle was eventually won. After he was released from prison in 1990 Nelson became president of South Africa. He is no longer president now, but his voice is still highly respected and heard everywhere.

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