South Africa - Apartheid


Land Act


"The controversial 1913 Land Act, passed three days after South Africa gained its independence, marked the beginning of territorial segregation by forcing black Africans to live in reserves and making it illegal for them to work as sharecroppers."

Second World War - Racism

1939 - 1945

"The Second World War highlighted the problems of racism, making the world turn away from such policies and encouraging demand for decolonization. it was during this period that South Africa introduced the more rigid racial policy of apartheid."



"Apartheid called for the separate development of the different racial groups in South Africa."

Afrikaner National Party


"In 1948, the Afrikaner National Party won the general election under the slogan, 'apartheid' (literally 'separateness')."

Population Registration Act, 1950


"This act demanded that people be registered according to their racial group. This meant that the Department of Home Affairs would have a record of people according to whether they were white, coloured, black, indian, or Asian. People would then be treated differently according to their population group, so this law formed the basis of apartheid. It was however not always easy to decide what racial group a person was part of, and this caused some problems."

Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act, 1959


"This act said that different racial groups has to live in different areas. Only a small percentage of South Africa was left for black people (who comprised the vast majority) to form their 'homelands'. This act also got rid of 'black spots' inside white areas, by moving all black people out of the city. Well known removals were those in District 6, Sophiatown, and Lady Shelbourne. These black people were then placed in townships outside of the town. They could not own property here, only rent it, as the land could only be white owned. This act caused much hardship and resentment. People lost their homes, were moved off land they had owned for many years and were moved to undeveloped areas far away from their place of work."



"In 1960, at the black town of Shapesville, the police opened fire on a group of unarmed blacks associated with the Pan-African Congress (PAC), and offshoot of the ANC."


1961 - 1994

"From 1961 to 1994, more than 3.5 million people were forcibly removed from their homes and deposited in the Bantustans, where they were plunged into poverty and hopelessness."



"In 1976, when thousands of black children in Soweto, a black township outside Johannesburg, demonstrated against the Afrikaans language requirement for black African students, the police opened fire with tear gas and bullets."

A New Constitution


"A new constitution, when enfranchised blacks and other racial groups, took effect in 1994, and elections that year led to a coalition government with a nonwhite majority, marking the official end of the apartheid."