These pages provide a range of sources looking at the end of apartheid in South Africa. They cover a range of people and factors that helped end white minority rule. Use the drop down menu to look at the different sections.
The Modern World’ by Rosemary Rees, a British school textbook written in 1996
South Africa is a multi-racial society. It is made up of four separate racial groups:
Blacks: make up 75% of the population. They speak mainly Bantu and are descended from people who lived in South Africa thousands of years ago
Coloureds: make up 8% of the population and are of mixed race
Asians: make up 3% of the population. They are descended from labourers who came to South Africa in the 19th century
Whites: make up 14% of the population and are descended from Dutch and British settlers.
In 1948 the government introduced the policy of apartheid. The Blacks were separated from the Whites and had very few political rights. Between 1948 and 1994, Blacks, together with some people from the other racial groups, struggled to bring an end to apartheid.
Some of the apartheid laws, recorded on africanhistory.about.com
Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, Act No 55 of 1949
Prohibited marriages between white people and people of other races.
Population Registration Act, Act No 30 of 1950
Led to the creation of a national register in which every person’s race was recorded.
Group Areas Act, Act No 41 of 1950
Forced physical separation between races.
Natives Act, Act No 67 of 1952
Commonly known as the Pass Laws…forced black people to carry identification with them at all times. A pass included a photograph, details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, and encounters with the police. It was a criminal offence to be unable to produce a pass when required to do so by the police.
Bantu Education Act, Act No 47 of 1953
Established a Black Education Department in the Department of Native Affairs which would set a curriculum that suited the “nature and requirements of the black people”. The author of the legislation, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd…stated that its aim was to prevent Africans receiving an education that would lead them to aspire to positions they wouldn’t be allowed to hold in society. Instead Africans were to receive an education designed to provide them with skills to serve their own people in the homelands or to work in labouring jobs under whites.
Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, Act No 49 of 1953
Forced segregation in all public amenities, public buildings, and public transport with the aim of eliminating contact between whites and other races. “Europeans Only” and “Non-Europeans Only” signs were put up. The act stated that facilities provided for different races need not be equal.
‘The Sharpeville Massacre’ by Reverend Ambrose Reeves. In 1966 the United Nations made March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This report was published by the United Nations to mark the day. Available from www.sahistory.org.za
5000…were drawn to the crowd by a variety of reasons. Some wanted to protest against the pass laws; some were present because they were coerced; some were there out of idle curiousity; some had heard that a statement would be made about passes.
Photographs taken that morning show clearly that this was no crowd spoiling for a fight with the police. Not only was the crowd unarmed, but a large proportion of those present were women and children…
During this time Colonel Spengler, then head of the Special Branch, was arresting two of the leaders of the Pan Africanist Congress. Afterwards he arrested a third man. Colonel Spengler said subsequently that he was able to carry out his arrests because while the crowd was noisy it was not in a violent mood.
Two white policemen opened fire and…about fifty others followed suit, using service revolvers, rifles and sten guns…on March 21, 1960, in Sharpeville. Sixty-nine people were killed, including eight women and ten children, and of the 180 people who were wounded, thirty-one were women and nineteen were children. According to the evidence of medical practitioners it is clear that the police continued firing after the people began to flee: for, while thirty shots had entered the wounded or killed from the front of their bodies no less than 155 bullets had entered the bodies of the injured and killed from their backs.