What Are Ten Facts About Apartheid?

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Apartheid is a form of racial segregation that has its roots in South Africa. Under this system of segregation, South Africans were divided into groups of whites and nonwhites. Apartheid was introduced in 1948 under the governance of the National Party, which was a system of government run by all-white officials.

Under the apartheid system, nonwhite South Africans, who comprised the majority of the nation’s population, were forced to live in separate areas from whites in both rural and urban areas. The districts set aside for nonwhites were generally much poorer agriculturally and located farther from transportation hubs and offices, which put their inhabitants at a disadvantage when getting to and from work and even completing basic tasks like shopping for groceries.

Nonwhites had no say in the politics of South Africa, and were required to have documents or passes in order to move from one area to another, which escalated the levels of hardship experienced by the people.

At first, apartheid was a social movement, but it was signed into law under the National Party with the adoption and passage of the Population Registration Act of 1950. This legislation created framework for apartheid by classifying South Africans according to their biological races. Then, the National Party enacted a series of land acts, which collectively set aside over eighty percent of the nation’s lands for whites. In an egregious display of authority, the government evicted thousands of nonwhite South Africans from their rural homes, driving them into cities and selling their land to whites for farming and ranching.