History Term Paper

This essay has a total of 1816 words and 10 pages.


Racial segregation and the supremacy of whites had been traditionally accepted in South
Africa prior to 1948, but in the general election of that year, Daniel F. Malan officially
included the policy of apartheid in the Afrikaner Nationalist party platform, bringing his
party to power for the first time. Although most whites acquiesced in the policy, there
was bitter and sometimes bloody strife over the degree and stringency of its
implementation. 2

The purpose of apartheid was separation of the races: not only of whites from nonwhites,
but also of nonwhites from each other, and, among the Africans (called Bantu in South
Africa), of one group from another. In addition to the Africans, who constitute about 75%
of the total population, those regarded as nonwhite include those people known in the
country as Coloured (people of mixed black, Malayan, and white descent) and Asian (mainly
of Indian ancestry) populations. 3

Initial emphasis was on restoring the separation of races within the urban areas. A large
segment of the Asian and Coloured populations was forced to relocate out of so-called
white areas. African townships that had been overtaken by (white) urban sprawl were
demolished and their occupants removed to new townships well beyond city limits. Between
the passage of the Group Areas Acts of 1950 and 1986, about 1.5 million Africans were
forcibly removed from cities to rural reservations. 4

South Africa gains independence from Great Britain after the passage of the Statute of
Westminster by the British Parliament in December 1931 and its acceptance by South Africa
in June 1934. From the formation of the independent country, the white minority controls
the government and moves to limit the powers of nonwhites and create special designated
areas, or homelands, for them to live.

Dec. 8, 1946
The United Nations adopts a resolution condemning the South African government's treatment
of its Indian minority and asks both South Africa and India to report back as to whether
conditions had improved to conform with the U.N. charter. A highly publicized effort by
India to prevent South Africa from discriminating against the Indian minority marks the
most prominent criticism to date of South Africa's increasingly divisive racial policies.
[See Facts On File print edition 1946, p.39A]

May 26, 1948
The conservative Afrikaner-dominated National Party wins parliamentary elections and gains
control of the South African government. The party, under new Premier Dr. Daniel F. Malan,
begins taking steps toward implementing apartheid (apartness), the national policy of
racial separation. [See Facts On File print edition 1948, p. 171C2]

June 13, 1950
Group Areas Act is enacted. It segregates communities and relegates the black population
to a minor percentage of the nation's land. [See Facts On File print edition 1950, p.

July 7, 1950
Population Registrations Act is enacted. It requires all South Africans to register their race with the government.
Enactment of pass laws. The laws require blacks to carry passbooks so that the government
can regulate their travel through the country.

Separate Amenities Act is enacted, establishing separate public facilities for whites and nonwhites.
June 26, 1955
The African National Congress and other opposition groups adopt the Freedom Charter,
calling for equal political rights for all races.

March 21 - April 5, 1960
Police kill 69 unarmed protesters in Sharpeville. The government bans all opposition
groups, may of which begin underground armed struggles for black and mixed-race
liberation, including the African National Congress. [See Facts On File print edition
1960, pp. 109F3, 103D3]

May 31, 1961
South Africa becomes a republic. The decision to break from the Commonwealth is prompted
by Asian and African Commonwealth member sates' denunciation of South Africa's apartheid
policies, which it refuses to alter. [See Facts On File print edition 1961, p. 97A1]

Nov. 12, 1963
U.N. General Assembly President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria suspends South Africa from
participating in the remainder of assembly sessions for that year. The following day South
Africa recalls it U.N. ambassador and freezes its $1 million annual contribution to the
organization. [See Facts On File print edition 1963, p. 935F2]

June 12, 1964
Nelson Mandela, an ANC leader, is convicted of sabotage and trying to overthrow the
government. He is sentenced to life in prison. [See Facts On File print edition 1964, p.

June 16, 1976
A student protest in the black township of Soweto against mandatory education in Afrikaans
spreads. The government, in an effort to suppress the civil unrest, kills 575 people over
eight months. [See Facts On File print edition 1976, p. 425F1]

Oct. 26, 1976
Transkei becomes the first homeland granted nominal independence. The 10 homelands
eventually make up about 13% of South African territory. [See Facts On File print edition
1976, p. 813A1]

Sept. 12, 1977
Steven Biko, one of the most influential black student leaders in South Africa, is
reported to have died from a hunger strike while in police detention. [See Facts On File
print edition 1977, p. 707C3]

Nov. 2, 1983
White voters approve a new constitution that creates separate chambers in the legislature
for Asians and Coloreds (people of mixed race), although not for blacks. [See South
African Whites Approve New Constitution; Limited Power Sharing Set]

June 12, 1986
A national state of emergency is imposed following widespread strikes and riots. The
decree gives virtually unlimited powers to the security forces and imposes restrictions on
the press. [See South Africa Declares National State of Emergency]
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