In what ways were the lives of Africans changed by the policy of Apartheid in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s? Essay

In this assignment I will describe how people’s lives were changed due to the apartheid laws in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Firstly the term Apartheid means “separateness”. This separation was for the blacks, the whites and for different races too. This meant that blacks and whites were totally separated from each other. Apartheid was based on the views of the nationalist party and they said that all different races should be kept apart from each other. This was impossible because their had to be some contact between the races, this was necessary so that the black South Africans and different races could work for the whites. Black South Africans were told where they could live and those areas were reserved for the black population only.

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In the 1950s there were Laws and Acts, which restricted the lives of the black South Africans; this included the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act. This Act meant that it was illegal for people of different races to get married. This also meant that no black or white could get married even if they were deeply in love. Any couples that had children and got married before 1949 were classified as “coloured”.

However another Act was passed, this Act was called the population Registration Act of 1950. This Act said that all South Africans should be in their particular racial group, such as black Africans, whites, coloured and Asians. This made it easier to segregate the different races, however though generations of interracial mixed marriages meant that this was an impossible task to do accurately. In particular some coloured or mixed race families suffered the most because some family members could be classified differently

Additionally another Act was the abolition of passes Act of 1952. This Act, wasn’t going to abolish the passes, it was going to tighten up the pre-war system. This Act forced all black men to carry a pass, which contained personal details about them and also told their racial group. They had to carry a pass whilst they were in white area. Without a pass living or working in the white area was illegal. To renew a pass often involved days of waiting outside the government offices. Police raids enforced this law. The police would check if the black people had a pass and if the pass was not produced then it could lead to beatings or sending them to prison.

Finally the Bantu Education Act of 1953 brought black education fully under government control. Black schools were provided with different courses to the whites and they were taught in their ethnic language and not in English. The pupils were taught to be prepared for life in their homelands and not in the whites cities. The government closed down many mission schools, which also meant that it closed the middle-class people.

These laws were designed to keep the South Africans at a lower status and to keep the whites at a higher status. The effect of these policies on the black population of South African was that almost all aspects of the lives of the black population of black Africans were affected because of Apartheid. These laws restricted the blacks freedom of movement and their right to have a proper education. They didn’t have a proper education because they weren’t taught in English and they were given different courses to do from the whites. These laws also restricted their right to marry their choice of partner and their right to political power. Apartheid was to become harsh when Verwoerd became Prime Minister in 1958.

Apartheid was becoming stronger due to Verwoerd’s “second phase”. Verwoerd became Prime Minister in 1958 and he introduced new laws, which restricted the rights of the black South Africans. These laws included the concept of “separate development”. This meant to separate the blacks and the whites completely. Verwoerd’s solution was to offer the blacks a chance to live and develop, as they wanted and to be totally separated from the whites in their own homelands. This also meant that if the black people wanted to become completely independent nations, then they could. Verwoerd called this “Bantu National Units”, although his critics preferred to call them Bantustans.

Another law he made was to resettle the people into Bantustans. The promotion of the Bantu self-governing, which was made in 1950, Verwoerd helped the black South Africans by making eight Bantu National Units, but these places were based on the reserves that were given to them along the tribal lines of South Africa. Verwoerd encouraged the police chiefs to be active politically and to look forward to a greater independence. An example of greater independence was the Transkei, which became self-governing in 1963 and independent in 1976. Other Bantustans also wanted to move to independence, these were Bophuthatswana, Venda and the Ciskei. No other nations recognised Bantustans as being an independent state, and it’s because that it wasn’t big and that it had no social or economic strength.

A banning order signed by the minister of justice prevented people from attending meetings, broadcasting on the TV, or being quoted or leaving a particular place without permission from a magistrate. Any gathering, which would cause danger to the public and disturb their peace, could also be banned in the opinion of the Minister of Justice. Political demonstrations like the ANC were banned too.

Detention without trial was used on a large scale during the sharpeville crisis of 1960 when 11,700 people were kept under the state of emergency. People suspected of terrorism could be held for up to thirty days and for longer if the Minister of Justice gave his approval. Detention without trial gave the police plenty of opportunity for brutality and torture. Between 1963 and 1985, 69 people died in police detention. The causes of death included suicide, people falling out of the tenth floor, slipping in the showers, and falling down the stairs. A man called Dr Neil Aggett died in detention in 1982 after being assaulted and not allowed to go to sleep.

Lots of opponents of the government died in unexplained conditions. It was possible that the security police could have killed them. For example Griffiths Mxenge was stabbed to death in 1981; his wife was shot and hacked to death in 1985. A parcel bomb in Botswana blew up another man in the 1970s.

The treatment of protestors leads to terrible cold-blooded massacres and the police killing lots of people and also wounding some. In sharpeville lots of protestors surrounded the police station making noise and it ended up with a policeman losing his nerve and shoots at the crowd followed by his colleagues helping him out and killing 69 people and wounding 180, many people were shot in the back.

These new laws had further implications for the freedom of the black South Africans. These laws changed the lives of black South Africans, it changed the way they lived and the way they worked. For example they didn’t get a proper education and also it wasn’t fair because they were given different courses compared to the whites. They weren’t given courses, which the whites were studying because if they were then they would get educated well and get good middle class jobs located in the whites area and the whites didn’t want this. Another example is they didn’t have any political power such as voting for who they want to be the Prime Minister.

Another example is they lost their human rights. There was a white man called Raymond Du Proft and a coloured woman called Diane Bassick, this couple were deeply in love but as they were different races they couldn’t get married, they could only meet in secret. This couple started to live together and had babies but all their babies were classified differently as they weren’t one race. Their oldest boy Graham, who is 19 years old started going out with an Afrikaans girl and later she became pregnant. But as they were different race they couldn’t get married so Graham response was to kill him self under a train. He died instantly. This shows us that the Prohibition of mixed marriages Act was harsh and that people were affected really badly and that they didn’t have much of a choice of whom they want to marry. These laws continued to realise the aims of the white minority and also keeping them at a high status than any other race in South Africa.

The full impact of these laws was not felt until the 1970s as resettlement reached its height and it became clearer that the resources available to the black South Africans were poorer than those available to the whites.

Apartheid was strengthened during the 1970s. So many people were forced into moving to different locations. The Group Areas Act was moving people into the cities, the government also wanted to destroy ‘black spots’, which was the places where black people lived in white areas. White farmers had been the largest employers for blacks, which meant that this cut the blacks workforces drastically. The white farmers did this by introducing new machinery and changing from pastoral to arable farming. The consequences of these changes were the forced movement from their homes of up to 2 million blacks; this brought greater poverty, enormous suffering and anger rose, which lead to politics being violent.

I think that this was the strengthening of an old policy and not a new policy because it changed the black South Africans lives and made it even worse by increasing poverty and changing their way of life and also making them live in terrible conditions.

During the 1970s the government increased more movement of black people meaning that the resources available to the black South Africans became really poor and over-stretched.

The changes still affected the lives of the black South Africans and the conditions still got worse as the decade progressed. In Welcome Valley resettlement camp, the blacks were building their own houses without the white peoples evils and these houses they made were not comfortable to live in and also they were made from bad materials. The toilets were made from corrugated iron and placed outside the homes.

Unibel was a squatter camp, which had 25,000 people in Cape flats near Cape Town. People were living there because they had nowhere else to go. Around this place there was no employment. The only place they could find work was in Cape Town. The government told them to move to Ciskei Bantustan but only a few of them accepted but all had no choice because their houses were bulldozed and destroyed.

A man called Jamangile Tsotsobe who lived at Colchester near Port Elizabeth; he lived with his wife and Epileptic granddaughter. Jamangile lived in that area for 30 years and worked as a gardener. This family had enough to eat and had plenty of neighbours and friends. However though in 1979 that Bantu Affairs Administration Board decided that this family were squatters in a white area and they were asked to move out and they were relocated to a camp in Glenmore about 200 kilometres away.

This family were tricked into going somewhere really rubbish and no jobs nearby. This family were happy where they were living and they knew that Bantu Affairs Administration Board would not give a black man a house for free. The trucks came in and destroyed their house before they can get their belongings and valuables. The house they were given in Glenmore was terrible; the walls were broken so they had to use mud to fix it. Jamangile Tsotsobe wanted to give his children a good future but by the looks of things, its not going to happen.

These conditions made people really angry and start making huge protests against Apartheid and this went on throughout the 1980s.

In conclusion I found out that the black South Africans lives were getting worse and worse due to them being moved to different locations every time. The polices made by Malan and Verwoerd made the life of the black South Africans really bad due to them not being allowed to get married to whoever they wanted, also them being moved completely away from the whites and different races and also the black South Africans being completely different to the whites keeping the blacks at a lower status than everyone else.


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