This Unit is about the Apartheid policy in South Africa which was caused manily by the whites in South Africa.



Apartheid Policy was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s.

Apartheid was a method of approach by the whites to South African politics.

It was the Boers favorite political policy since the days of the great trek although it was officially passed in 1948.

Afrikaner university professors designed it

It is award meaning separateness i.e. keeping races apart

It also meant racial segregation based on white domination over Africans.

It meant separate development i.e. the whites territories developed separately from the natives’ areas.


  • The whites feared being overwhelmed by the majority i.e. the Africans.
  • The Africans desired to maintain their culture and superiority
  • The whites wanted Africans to leave alone in the Bantustans and reserves.
  • It aimed at prohibiting interracial mixture of nay type
  • It aimed at consolidating whites supremacy over Africa through the use of force
  • The whites wanted to kill off African nationalism by sending Africans to Bantustans.
  • The whites aimed at keeping a constant supply of labor from African reserves.
  • The whites wanted their policy of divide and rule to succeed especially over the Bantustan policy.
  • The whites wanted to block the majority the Africans from taking a larger part in the politics of their country
  • It aimed at avoiding competition for work between poor whites and Africans.
  • To ensure Africans are backwards and underdeveloped.
  • To provide a foundation for firmly controlling Africans from disrupting the peace of whites.
  • To serve as the basis of all activities in south Africa




The apartheid machinery was built over a period of 30 years.

By 1948, all laws had been revised to reflect this change. The policy was applied in the following fields;

  • The kind of education given to the blacks was to prepare them for inferior positions since it encouraged them to exercise their talents in agriculture.
  • The education act of 1953 dictated that black’s education had to be in their local language.
  • The whites ensured that academic and professional training weren’t given to Africans.
  • Africans received mainly agriculture lessons to equip them for future life.
  • The 1949 commission on African education dictated that African education was to be conducted in their mother tongue.
  • The Bantu education was also removed from missionary control and high education for Africans in towns banned or discouraged.
  • In 1959, the universities act expelled Africans from white universities leading to tribal universities, for example, Xhosa in fort hare, Zulu to Ngeye and coloreds to Belleville.
  • The education system promoted ethnic studies rather the study of South Africa as a whole.


  • Skilled and semi-skilled employment was reserved and whites alone and Africans got only unskilled jobs.
  • The 1911 mines and work act for bade employment of Africans as professionals.
  • In 1937, the government industrial act denied Africans membership in any registered trade union.
  • In 1951, the native builders, workers act prohibited the employment of Africans as skilled workers in towns.


  • The land act of 1913 restricted Africans from residing outside their districts.
  • By 1913, land was divided into 2 i.e. for whites and for Africans.
  • In 1950, the group area act created homes for all races and those for Africans called Bantustans.
  • Africans had to get permission to move outside their villages and were not to stay out for more than 3 days.
  • Also Africans had to obtain permits to enter towns and were not to stay for more than 72 hours.
  • The land act gave the whites 87%of the land
  • The 1937 urban areas act made it illegal for Africans to live in towns of whites
  • After 1950, the whites, as a result, took Johannesburg and Soppla towns and Africans within 19kms of those towns were sent away.
  • Even the Asians and coloreds that had shops and property in European areas were prohibited from using them.


  • In 1949 the marriage acts prohibited interracial marriage between whites and Africans.
  • In 1950 all people in South Africa had to be registered as whites including Boers, British and other Europeans and natives.
  • In 1950 sexual intercourse between Africans and whites was banned.
  • In 1936, the native representation act dictated that Africans had to vote separately only in their Bantustans.
  • In 1960’s the Xhosa in Transkei were given independence with a government of 63 appointed chiefs and 45 electoral members.
  • In 1913 an immigration bill was passed banning the admission of more Indians into South Africa.
  • The representation of native acts in 1936 removed Africans from the cape natives voters roll.
  • The above bill also allowed Africans throughout the country to elect four Europeans to represent them in the senate. These were to supplement their 3 representatives in the house of assembly.
  • The 4 senate representatives were to be elected not through the general electorate but by electoral colleges.
  • The 1936 native representation act also set up an active representative council with 16 African members.
  • Of the 16 members above, 12 had to be elected and 4 nominated. This council only advised the government on native affairs though their advice was of no use.
  • 1951 even the coloreds were placed on a separate voters roll-off from a common voters roll.
  • In 1950 the communism act gave the whites powers to arrest and imprison all those who were promoting anti-whites feeling, especially from ANC.
  • The communism act also allowed the whites to ban a person or organization suspected of communism.
  • Even newspapers thought to be supporting African nationalists were to be banned.
  • The public safety act and criminal law gave the government power to declare a state of emergency up to a year.
  • From 1962 the police was given powers to question suspects in solitary confinement and detain them without charge for 12 days.
  • By 1976 the police was free to detain without trial any suspect for unlimited time.
  • The prisons act of 1959 made it illegal to report prison conditions and for prisoners to communicate with anyone.
  • In 1974 the state was given liberty to forbid any African organization from getting foreign funds.


  • It denied Africans self-determination of their testing which was controlled by the whites
  • Africans did not exploit their potential fully since such chances were not there
  • Africans became second class citizens with very poor social facilities
  • It led to violent protests for example the 1960 Sharpville pass demonstration.
  • It led to great deaths of Africans for example at Sharpville 62 died and over 220 died during Kadalie’s strikes.
  • Africans were denied economic opportunities which could make them rich.
  • Africans lived in slums and reserves for example Soweto, Gazankulu.
  • Africans lived in great poverty and misery
  • Africans got only manual or unskilled jobs
  • It led to growth of African nationalism e.g. ANC was born soon after the passing of the land act.
  • It created enmity against the whites and Africans usually dreamt of killing as many whites as possible.
  • Africans were segregated against by the whites.
  • Pass laws restricted African movement making them prisoners in their country.
  • Africans migrated to urban areas creating a migrant labor economy
  • Africans lost land and adopted a cash economy
  • There was break down in African cultural norms and a new group of the elites came up.
  • It led to the creation of Bantustans.


  • Many whites became the first-class citizens with first-class resources
  • The whites received cheap labour
  • Whites exploited African wealth
  • The whites got skilled and semi-skilled jobs.
  • Whites got most of the lands and became wealthy
  • The whites dominated the politics of South Africa

It led to Boer domination of South Africa.


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