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Sample Essay on the Apartheid in South Africa

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❶This article covers one facet or dimension, internationally, of segregation or apartheid in South Africa.

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A medical student, Biko was the main force behind the growth of South Africa's Black Consciousness Movement , which stressed the need for psychological liberation, black pride , and non-violent opposition to apartheid. The motto of the movement was "Black is Beautiful", first made popular by boxer Mohammed Ali. BC endorsed black pride and African customs, and did much to alter feelings of inadequacy, while also raising awareness of the fallacy of blacks being seen as inferior.

It defied practices and merchandise that were meant to make black people "whiter", such as hair straighteners and skin lighteners. Western culture was toured as destructive and alien to Africa.

Black people became conscious of their own distinctive identity and self-worth, and grew more outspoken about their right to freedom. White students had concerns more scholastic than political, and, although the administration was multi-racial, it was not tackling many of the issues of the mounting number of black students since White students were permitted to live on university grounds, but black students were relegated to accommodation further away in a church vestibule.

It was created in , and among its members were the Azanian People's Organisation , the black Community Programme which directed welfare schemes for blacks , the Black People's Convention which, at first, attempted to unite charitable associations like that for the Education and Cultural Advancement of African People of South Africa and the South African Students Movement SASM , which represented high-school learners.

When the BCM's principles were illuminated, a number of fresh organisations, staunch in their endorsement of black liberation, came into being. The Azanian People's Organisation was only launched in , a long time after the birth of the Black Consciousness Movement, as a medium for its message.

The BCM drew most of its backing from high schools and tertiary institutions. Black Consciousness ethics were crucial in lifting consciousness amongst black people of their value and right to a better existence, along with the need to insist on these.

The BCM's non-violent approach subsided in favour of a more radical element as its resolve to attain liberty was met with state hostility. After the carnage in Soweto the ANC's Nelson Mandela grudgingly concurred that bloodshed was the only means left to convince the NP to accede to commands for an end to its apartheid policy. The Black Consciousness Movement and other opinionated elements were prohibited during the s because the government saw them as dangerous.

Black Consciousness in South Africa adopted a drastic theory, much like socialism, as the liberation movement progressed to challenging class divisions and shifting from an ethnic stress to focusing more on non-racialism. The BCM became more worried about the destiny of the black people as workers, believing that "economic and political exploitation has reduced the black people into a class". With Black Consciousness increasing throughout black communities, a number of other organisations were formed to combat apartheid.

In , the Black People's Convention was founded, and the black Allied Worker's Union, formed in , focused on black labour matters. The black community programmes gave attention to the more global issues of black communities. School learners began to confront the Bantu education policy, designed to prepare them to be second-class citizens. It was particularly popular in Soweto, where the insurrection against Bantu Education would prove to be a crossroads in the fight against apartheid.

Taken into custody on 18 August , Steve Biko was brutally tortured by unidentified security personnel until he lapsed into a coma. He went for three days without medical treatment and finally died in Pretoria. At the subsequent inquest, the magistrate ruled that no-one was to blame, but the South African Medical Association eventually took action against the doctors who had failed to treat Biko. There was tremendous reaction both within and outside South Africa. Foreign countries imposed even more stringent sanctions, and the United Nations imposed an arms embargo.

Young blacks inside South Africa committed themselves even more fervently to the struggle against apartheid, under the catchphrase " Liberation before education ". Black communities became highly politicised. The Black Consciousness Movement began to change its focus during the s from being on issues of nation and community to issues of class and, perhaps as a result, had far less of an impact than in the mid-'seventies.

Still, there is some evidence to suggest that it retained at least some influence, particularly in workers' organisations. The role of Black Consciousness could be clearly seen in the approach of the National Forum, which believed that the struggle ought to hold little or no place for whites.

This ideal, of blacks leading the resistance campaign, was an important aim of the traditional Black Consciousness groups, and it shaped the thinking of many 'eighties activists, most notably the workforce.

Furthermore, the NF focused on workers' issues, which became more and more important to BC supporters.

It got most of its support from young black men and women—many of them educated at colleges and universities. The organisation had a lot of support in Soweto and also amongst journalists, helping to popularise its views. It focused, too, on workers' issues, but it refused to form any ties with whites. Although it did not achieve quite the same groundswell of support that it had in the late s, Black Consciousness still influenced the thinking of a few resistance groups.

In the Afrikaans Medium Decree forced all black schools to use Afrikaans and English in a 50—50 mix as languages of instruction. The intention was to forcibly reverse the decline of Afrikaans among black Africans. The Afrikaner-dominated government used the clause of the Constitution that recognised only English and Afrikaans as official languages as pretext to do so.

The decree was resented deeply by blacks as Afrikaans was widely viewed, in the words of Desmond Tutu, then Dean of Johannesburg as "the language of the oppressor". Teacher organisations such as the African Teachers Association of South Africa objected to the decree. The resentment grew until 30 April , when children at Orlando West Junior School in Soweto went on strike, refusing to go to school. Their rebellion then spread to many other schools in Soweto. Students formed an Action Committee later known as the Soweto Students' Representative Council that organised a mass rally for 16 June The protest was intended to be peaceful.

In a confrontation with police, who had barricaded the road along the intended route, stones were thrown. Attempts to disperse the crowd with dogs and tear gas failed; when the police saw they were surrounded by the students, they fired shots into the crowd, at which point pandemonium broke out. In the first day of rioting 23 people were killed in escalating violence. The following day 1, heavily armed police officers were deployed to Soweto. Crowd control methods used by South African police at the time included mainly dispersement techniques, and many of the officers shot indiscriminately, killing people, most by police violence.

Student organisations played a significant role in the Soweto uprisings, and after protests by school children became frequent.

There were two major urban school boycotts, in and Both involved black, Indian and coloured children, and both went on for months. There were also extended protests in rural areas in and In all of these areas, schools were closed and thousands of students, teachers and parents were arrested.

This spread to the Eastern Cape and Transvaal, drawing other high schools. SASM gave support to its members with school work and exams, and with progress from lower school levels to university. Security forces pestered its members continually until, in , some of its leaders fled the country. In and , some affiliates were captured and tried under the Suppression of Communism and Terrorism Acts.

This flagged the SASM's progress. Many school headmasters and -mistresses forbade the organisation from playing a role in their schools. When the Southern Transvaal local Bantu Education Department concluded that all junior secondary black students had to be taught in Afrikaans in , SASM limbs at Naledi High School and Orlando West Secondary Schools opted to vent their grievances on school books and refused to attend their schools This form of struggle spread fast to other schools in Soweto and hit boiling point around 8 June When law enforcement attempted to arrest a regional SASM secretary, they were stoned and had their cars torched.

An Action Committee was shaped with two agents from each school in Soweto. The protest was set aside for 16 June , and the organisers were determined only to use aggression if they were assaulted by the police.

After the Sharpeville Massacre, some black student organisations came out but were short-lived under state proscription and antagonism from university powers. They were also unsuccessful in co-operating effectively with one another, resulting in a dearth of harmony and force.

Although the organisation was meant to be non-racial and anti-government, it was made up primarily of white English students from customarily broad-minded universities such as those in Natal, Cape Town, the Witwatersrand and Grahamstown. These students were had compassion for the effort against the state. By , however, NUSAS was forbidden from functioning on black universities, making it almost impossible for black Student Representative Councils to join the union.

In July , Steve Biko became the organisation's inaugural head. This boosted the mood of the students and the Black Consciousness Movement. By means of the unified configuration of SASO, the principles of Black Consciousness came to the forefront as a fresh incentive for the strugglers.

The Congress of South African Students COSAS was aimed at co-ordinating the education struggle and organised strikes, boycotts and mass protests around community issues. After it made a number of demands from the Department of Education and Training DET , including the scrapping of matric examination fees. It barred many DET officials from entering schools, demanded that all students pass their exams — "pass one, pass all"—and disrupted exams. It encouraged students to return to their studies, taking on forms of protest less disruptive to their education.

Consumer boycotts were recommended instead and teachers and students were encouraged to work together to develop an alternative education system. In , the world's fiscal boom ended. At the same time, labour action in South Africa was renewed, with a number of strikes in Durban.

Abuse of black workers was common, and, as a consequence, many black people were paid less than a living wage. The strike drew a lot attention and encouraged other workers to strike. Strikes for higher wages, improved working conditions and the end of exploitation occurred throughout this period. Police employed tear gas and violence against the strikers, but could not apprehend the masses of people involved. The strikers never chose individuals to stand for them, because these people would be the first to be detained.

Blacks were not permitted trade unions, which meant that the government could not act against any particular individuals. Strikes usually concluded when income boosts were tendered, but these were generally lower than had initially been insisted upon. The Durban strikes soon extended to other parts of the country.

There was also an increasingly buoyancy among black workers as they found that the state did not retort as harshly as they had expected.

They thus began to form trade unions, even though these remained illegitimate and unofficial. After , trade unions and their workers began to play a massive role in the fight against apartheid. With their thousands of members, the trade unions had great strength in numbers, and this they used to their advantage, campaigning for the rights of black workers and forcing the government to make changes to its apartheid policies. Importantly, trade unions filled the gap left by banned political parties.

They assumed tremendous importance because they could act on a wide variety of issues and problems for their people—and not only work-related ones, as links between work issues and broader community grievances became more palpable. Fewer trade-union officials harassed less by the police and army were jailed than political leaders in the townships. Union members could meet and make plans within the factory. In this way, trade unions played a pivotal role in the struggle against apartheid, and their efforts generally had wide community support.

In , one year after Botha's accession to power, black trade unions were legalised, and their role in the resistance struggle grew to all-new proportions. Prior to , black trade unions had had no legal clout in dealings with employers. All strikes that took place were illegal, but they did help to establish the trade unions and their collective cause. Although the legalisation of black trade unions gave workers the legal right to strike, it also gave the government a degree of control over them, as they all had to be registered and hand in their membership records to the government.

They were not allowed to support political parties either, and it goes without saying that some trade unions did not comply. It was followed by the Council of Unions of South Africa CUSA , which was influenced strongly by the ideas of Black Consciousness and wanted to work to ensure black leadership of unions. The establishment of the trade union federations led to greater unity amongst the workers. The tremendous size of the federations gave them increased voice and power.

In , there were strikes involving , workers. Both of these had an important impact, but the latter was far more influential. With the establishment of the new constitution in , the biggest and longest black uprising exploded in the Vaal Triangle. The newly formed trade-union governing body, committed to improved working conditions and the fight against apartheid, organised a nationwide strike the following year, and a new State of Emergency was declared.

With South Africa facing a neigh-unprecedented shortage of skilled white labour, the government was forced to allow black people to fill the vacancies. This, in turn, led to an increase in spending on black, coloured and Indian education.

Still, there were divides amongst the trade-union faction, which had the membership of only ten per cent of the country's workforce. Not all trade unions joined the federations, while agricultural and domestic workers did not even have a trade union to join and were thus more liable. Nevertheless, by the end of this period, the unions had emerged as one of the most effective vehicles for black opposition.

The government's suppression of anti-Apartheid political parties limited their influence but not church activism. The government was far less likely to attack or arrest religious leaders, allowing them to potentially be more politically active in the struggle. The government did, however, take action against some churches.

Significantly, it also refused to condemn violence as a means of ending apartheid. He was detained four times because of his criticism of the government and once allegedly had an attempt on his life, initiated by Adriaan Vlok , former Minister of Law and Order. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in and used his position and popularity to denounce the government and its policies.

On 29 February Tutu, and a number of other church leaders, were arrested during a protest in front of the parliamentary buildings in Cape Town. He was very influential in founding the UDF and was once jailed for a month after organising a march demanding the release of Nelson Mandela.

Although church leaders were not totally immune to prosecution, they were able to criticise the government more freely than the leaders of militant groups. They were pivotal in altering public opinion regarding apartheid policies.

The Mass Democratic Movement played a brief but very important role in the struggle. The campaign proved successful and managed to bring segregation to an end. Some historians, however, argue that this occurred because the government had planned to end segregation anyway and did not, therefore, feel at all threatened by the MDM's action. Later in , the MDM organised a number of peaceful marches against the State of Emergency extended to four years now in the major cities. Even though these marches were illegal, no-one was arrested—evidence that apartheid was coming to an end and that the government's hold was weakening.

The MDM emerged only very late into the struggle, but it added to the effective resistance that the government faced. It organised a series of protests and further united the opposition movement. Certainly, it was characteristic of the "mass resistance" that characterised the 'eighties: While the majority of white South African voters supported the apartheid system for the first few decades, a minority fervently opposed it.

Although assassination attempts against government members were rare, Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd , called the "architect of grand apartheid", suffered two attempts on his life the second of which was successful on the hands of David Pratt and Dimitri Tsafendas , both legally considered white although Tsafendas had a mother from Portuguese East Africa.

The moderate United Party of Jan Smuts the official opposition in — initially opposed the Nationalists' programme of apartheid, having favoured the dismantling of racial segregation by the Fagan Commission , but eventually came to revert its policy and even criticised the NP government for "handing out" too much South African land to the bantustans.

Suzman's critics argue that she did not achieve any notable political successes, but helped to shore up claims by the Nationalists that internal, public criticism of apartheid was permitted. Suzman's supporters point to her use of her parliamentary privileges to help the poorest and most disempowered South Africans in any way she could.

Harry Schwarz was in minority opposition politics for over 40 years and was one of the most prominent opponents of the National Party and its policy of apartheid.

After assisting in the general election, Schwarz and others formed the Torch Commando , an ex-soldiers' movement to protest against the disenfranchisement of the coloured people in South Africa. Beginning in the s, when he was Leader of the Opposition in the Transvaal , he became well-known and achieved prominence as a race relations and economic reformist in the United Party.

An early and powerful advocate of non-violent resistance, he signed the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith with Mangosuthu Buthelezi in , that enshrined the principles of peaceful negotiated transition of power and equality for all, the first of such agreements by black and white political leaders in South Africa. In he led a break away from the United Party, due to its lame duck approach to criticism of apartheid and became leader of the new Reform Party that led to the realignment of opposition politics in South Africa.

Schwarz was one of the defence attorneys in the infamous Rivonia Trial , defending Jimmy Kantor , who was Nelson Mandela 's lawyer until he too was arrested and charged. Through the s and s in Parliament he was amongst the most forthright and effective campaigners against apartheid, who was feared by many National Party ministers.

Helen Zille , a white anti-apartheid activist, exposed a police cover-up regarding the death of Black Consciousness founder Steve Biko as a reporter for the Rand Daily Mail.

Zille was active in the Black Sash , an organisation of white women formed in to oppose the removal of Coloured mixed-race voters from the Cape Province voters' roll. Even after that failure, however, it went on assisting blacks with issues such as pass laws, housing and unemployment.

Whites also played a significant role in opposing apartheid during the s through the United Democratic Front and End Conscription Campaign.

The latter was formed in to oppose the conscription of white males into the South African military. The ECC's support-base was not particularly large, but the government still saw fit to ban it The army played a major role in the government's maintenance of its apartheid policies.

It was expanded considerably to fight the resistance, and more money was being spent on increasing its effectiveness. It is estimated that something between R4-billion and R5-billion was spent on defence in the mid-'eighties. Conscription was used to increase the size of the army, with stiff prison sentences imposed for draft evasion or desertion. The army was used to fight battles on South African borders and in neighbouring states, against the liberation movements and the countries that supported them.

During the s, the military was also used to repress township uprisings, which saw support for the ECC increase markedly.

Some of the first violent resistance to the system was organised by the African Resistance Movement ARM who were responsible for setting off bombs at power stations and notably the Park Station bomb. The membership of this group was virtually all drawn from the marginalised white intellectual scene. By , though, ARM ceased to exist, most of its members having been arrested or fled the country. One person was slain, and 22 were injured. He was sentenced to death and executed in Many Jewish South Africans, both individuals and organisations, helped support the anti-apartheid movement.

One organisation, the Union of Jewish Women, sought to alleviate the suffering of blacks through charitable projects and self-help schemes. Fourteen of the 23 whites involved in the Treason Trial were Jewish and all five whites of the 17 members of the African National Congress who were arrested for anti-apartheid activities in were Jewish. Some Jewish university students vehemently opposed the apartheid movement. These anti-apartheid organisations led protests that were both active i.

Two Jewish organisations were formed in Jews for Justice in Cape Town and Jews for Social Justice in Johannesburg tried to reform South African society and build bridges between the white and black communities. Also in , the South African Jewish Board passed a resolution rejecting apartheid. In addition to the well-known high profile Jewish anti-apartheid personalities, there were very many ordinary Jews who expressed their revulsion of apartheid in diverse ways and contributed to its eventual downfall.

Many Jews were active in providing humanitarian assistance for black communities. Johannesburg's Oxford Synagogue and Cape Town's Temple Israel established nurseries, medical clinics and adult education programs in the townships and provided legal aid for victims of apartheid laws.

Many Jewish lawyers acted as nominees for non-whites who were not allowed to buy properties in white areas. In , South Africa's National Congress of the Jewish Board of Deputies passed a resolution urging "all concerned [people] and, in particular, members of our community to cooperate in securing the immediate amelioration and ultimate removal of all unjust discriminatory laws and practices based on race, creed, or colour.

Hilda Kuper , writing in , observed of the Natal Indian Congress:. Congress considers that in South Africa the first objective is the removal of discrimination based on race, and is prepared to co-operate with people of all groups who share this ideological outlook.

Fatima Meer was notable among South African anti-apartheid activists from the Indian diaspora. South African women greatly participated in the anti-apartheid and liberation movements that took hold of South Africa. These female activists were rarely at the head of the main organisations, at least at the beginning of the movement, but were nonetheless prime actors.

One of the earliest organisation was The Bantu Women's League founded in While female activists fought along men and participated to demonstrations and guerrilla movements, FSAW and ANCWL also acted independently and organised bus boycotts, campaigns against restrictive passes in in Pretoria and in Sharpeville in Many participants were arrested, forced into exile or imprisoned, including such as Lilian Ngoyi. In , women were arrested during an anti-pass campaign.

At the same time South African women fought against gender discrimination and called for rights specific to women, such as family, children, gender equality and access to education. At a conference in Johannesburg in , the Federation of South African Women adopted the "Women's Charter", [33] which focused on rights specific to women both as women and mothers.

The Charter referred both to human rights, women's rights and asked for universal equality and national liberation. In , in a document drafted in preparation for the Congress of People, [34] the FSAW made more demands, including free education for children, proper housing facilities and good working conditions, such as the abolition of child labour and a minimum wage.

The difficulty for these local movements was to raise global awareness to truly have an impact. Yet, their actions and demands gradually attracted the attention of the United Nations and put pressure on the international community.

This has been crucial in the recognition of Southern African women and their role in the anti-apartheid movement. Many of these leaders served long prison sentences. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. African National Congress and Umkhonto we Sizwe. Sexual relations between the South Africans of white origin and blacks were also prohibited.

This included the black Africans or the Bantu, the mixed race or Colored and the white. Asians formed the fourth category and these included the Pakistan and the Indian people. There were cases when this legislation separated families after classifying parents as white and their children as colored.

Over 80 percent of the land was set aside by several Land Acts for the whites. Non-whites were required by the pass laws to carry documents that authorized their presence in the restricted areas. Separate facilities were established by the government to limit associations or contacts between people of different races.

The non-whites were not allowed to participate in the national government and their labor union had limited activities. The non-whites resisted apartheid in different ways. For instance, people engaged in non-violent demonstrations, strikes and protests. They also took political actions and later people engaged in armed resistance.

In , a group known as the Congress of the People came up with a Freedom Charter. A massacre took place in Sharpeville in a black township when the police fired at a group of the blacks that was associated with Pan-African Congress. Over people were wounded and 67 blacks killed during this incident. Apartheid ended in after a new constitution was effected enfranchising the blacks as well as other non-white groups. Elections were held the same year and Nelson Mandela was elected as the first black president in South Africa.

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Apartheid in South Africa Essay - Apartheid in South Africa Apartheid is the political policy of racial segregation. In Afrikaans, it means apartness, and it was pioneered in by the South African National Party when it came to power.

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The Apartheid in South Africa Essay Words | 6 Pages. The Apartheid started in when Dr. Malan’s National Party beat the United Party who wanted integration. After the National Party won they had been given the Sauer report, which said that they had to choose between integration or an Apartheid.

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- Apartheid in Literature Apartheid In researching the existing text related to Apartheid, there must first be proper definitions of the term 'Apartheid'. Next comes the identification and analysis of works of literature that speak of Apartheid and the lives of people under the South African government. The unbelievable crimes that have occurred in the name of apartheid in South Africa are horrific. The fight for freedom and democracy has coasted many innocent lives and harm to almost all black South Africans.3/5(3).

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Apr 01,  · Apartheid Essay Attack on Human Rights - Words Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the U.S., liberated the Jews and the Nazis were put on trials known as the Nuremburg trials as a result of the holocaust for actions against human rights. Apartheid Essay Apartheid (literally “apartness” in Afrikaans and Dutch) refers to a system of racial segregation enforced in South Africa by the white National Party from its election in until the first election open to all races in