History of Apartheid in South Africa
Apartheid refers to the official policy of racial separation and ill treatment of blacks followed by the white government of South Africa between 1948 and 1989.The system of apartheid divided the people and labeled them on the basis of their skin color. The natives of South Africa were the “Blacks”, the people with mixed races were “colored” and the people who emigrated from India were the “Indians”.
All non whites were treated as inferiors and were deprived of their right to vote. They were forbidden from living in white areas, they could work in the white areas only if they had a permit. Trains, buses, taxis, hospitals, colleges, schools, libraries, cinema halls, beaches, swimming pools, public toilets were all separate for whites and blacks. The Blacks could not even visit the churches reserved for white people. The African National Congress was the umbrella organization which led the strikes against the policies of discrimination.
As protests and struggles against the apartheid had increased the governments realized that they could no longer keep the blacks under their rule through repression. The White regime had to change its policies. Discriminatory laws were repealed. Ban on political parties and restrictions on the media were lifted.
After 28 years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela walked out of jail as a free man. Nelson Mandela was a South African leader who was tried by the White South African government. He and several others were given life imprisonment in 1964, for daring to oppose the apartheid regime. He was imprisoned for 28 years in the Robben Island. Later on he became the first president of the independent South Africa. Finally at the midnight of 2nd April, 1994, the new national flag of the Republic of South Africa was unfurled marking the newly born democracy in the world. The apartheid government came to an end, paving way for the foundations of a multi racial government.
After the emergence of the new democratic South Africa, Black leaders appealed to the fellow blacks to forgive the Whites for their atrocities they had committed while they were in power. They said let us build a South Africa based on equality of all races. They thought of building a new South Africa based on equality of all races and men and women on democratic values, social justice and human rights.
The party that ruled through the oppression and brutal killings and the party that led the freedom struggle sat together to draw up a common constitution. After two years of discussion and debates, they came out with one of the finest constitutions the world has ever had. This constitution gave all its citizens the most extensive rights available in any country. Together, they decided that in search for a solution to the problems, nobody should be excluded. No one should be treated as a demon. They agreed that everybody should be a part of the solution, whatever they might have done or represented in the past.
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