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Category: Policy/Strategy
Date: 1948
Date To: 1994
Sub Category:Policy/Strategy (South Africa)
State/Country:Republic of South Africa
Summary Information:
The term 'apartheid' (meaning 'separateness' in Afrikaans) refers to the racial segregation policy of the government of the Republic of South Africa from 1948-1994. Though racial discrimination existed in law and practice in South Africa well before apartheid was introduced, the policy saw the systematic implementation of a suite of laws designed to entrench white legal, social, economic and political superiority. It also instituted a race classification system of 'black', 'coloured', 'Indian' and 'white' that governed the lives of South Africans.
Detailed Information:
The policy underwent several changes throughout this period. These included its extension in 1951 with the Bantu Authorities Act and other related legislation which prescribed the so-called 'homelands' system. This system of black homelands and nominally independent black governments saw black people considered citizens of certain 'homelands' and so considered 'migrants' who could be deported from the white-ruled Republic of South Africa. The then-government envisaged that the only blacks residing in cities would be those employed by white employers (see Giannandrea).

Apartheid also oversaw the forced removal of people from their land, laws forbidding interracial marriage and a pass system whereby non-white South Africans would need a pass to enter areas designated 'white-only'. It is estimated that 3.5 million people were removed from their land during apartheid (see Dorsett).

Opposition to apartheid, both domestic and international, continued throughout its operation. The policy started to be dismantled from 1990, and was abolished completely with the election of the country's first democratically-elected government in 1994 (see generally Worden).
The new Africa National Congress (ANC) government passed the country’s new Constitution in 1996, which entrenched equality and other citizenship rights. In addition, the new government embarked on a program of reversing the affects of apartheid, including through a program of land restitution and policies to combat continuing economic inequality (for example, see Black Economic Empowerment and the Employment Equity Act 1998 below).

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  • Glossary

    Policy/Strategy (South Africa)

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