Apartheid Can Be Seen as the Conglomeration Thesis

Pages: 6 (1538 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - African

Apartheid can be seen as the conglomeration of the Afrikaner-dominated government in the 1940s with the tradition of British colonialism primarily in South Africa. The notion of apartheid stems from an idea that means apartness or separateness. Apartheid is no doubt oppressive and discriminatory in every sense of the word and, looking back, seems to be an outlandish idea that no one in his or her right mind would favor in today's world. However, those in charge did favor the idea of segregation and attempted at every turn to implement it in South Africa. In a sensed apartheid was successful in the fact that it divided people on the basis of race and created contention where there could have been none. Apartheid is the black eye that rests upon those that refused to listen and hear the voices of freedom screaming in the streets and remains the example of how not to run a country or treat its citizens.

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Apartheid means "apartness" and from the time the African National Party came into power, in 1948 the Union of South Africa was governed "accordingly to the avowedly racist policy" (Craig 1064). The practice allowed for "complete separation of the races" (Chodorow 1003). William Worger notes that apartheid was not simply restricted to blacks, it was a "policy of favoring racial separation and, ultimately, the removal of all peoples of color from South Africa (Africans to other parts of Africa, Indians to India, Chinese to China) so that it could be literally a white man's country" (Worger). Apartheid legislation divided individuals into racial groups and blacks in South Africa were stripped of any citizenship. It also restricted franchise opportunities for nonwhite individuals and some Africans were forced to resettle. These policies led to "violent confrontations at home and the censure of most of the civilized world abroad" (Chodorow 1003). However, the price paid to reach this point was too high.

TOPIC: Thesis on Apartheid Can Be Seen as the Conglomeration Assignment

Albert Craig maintains that the history of apartheid is "bloody and tortured but finally triumphant" (Craig 1064). The worldwide opposition to apartheid allowed South Africa to become "increasingly isolated" (1064) and, as a result, many other white-run states in Africa managed to follow their lead and become independent. With South Africa's white minority running the country, this meant economic and political control. Millions of blacks and mixed races were "strictly and legally segregated" (Craig 1064) and this rule was maintained by "repression, most visibly direct military and political action" (1064). One of the first and most prominent spokesmen for apartheid was Hendrik Verwoerd. Worger describes Verwoerd as a man known for his support of the "extreme policy of racial separation" (Worger). Verwoerd was born in Amsterdam but lived in South Africa since 1903. He was a professor but eventually turn to social work. He served as minister of native affairs from 1950 to 1958 and as prime minister from 1958 until he was assassinated. It is worth noting that people did what they could to attain some semblance of freedom in their society. In 1955, the people a "Freedom Charter, which was a "vision for a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa" (South African History Online). In 1961, South Africa withdrew from British reign and in the 60s and 70s the government created "independent homelands" for blacks, allowing them too live as "foreigners" where most of them worked. The international community would not accept this and South Africa experienced further isolation when two apartheid leaders were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work for the cause against apartheid. The structure of apartheid can be seen as Grand Apartheid, which centered specifically on separating the races on a large scale. The idea of separate states, or homelands, was implemented.

Petty Apartheid refers to legislation that allowed blacks more freedom than they had before.

After Verwoerd's exit from office, other leaders came into power attempting to change the destruction that was known as apartheid and clearly perceived as a failure. Pieter Botha came to power in 1961 on the premise of changing the National Party platform. At this point, it was clear to the world that apartheid was failing and the "homelands were economic and political catastrophes" (Craig 1065). He tried to implement reform and convinced the National Party to abandon Verwoerdian apartheid. This meant that South African citizenship was to be restored to some nine million people and blacks were granted full rights to property. In addition to this, "influx control" (Louw 72) was abolished. In the 80s, the tension between the white minority and black majority intensified and Botha could not calm the situation with any promises. Internal opposition grew and calls for a boycott of South Africa brought "increasing international pressure" (Craig 1065). The government even sent in troops on preemptive raids in neighboring countries. Eventually, the National Party saw it "hegemony disintegrated as it lost the ability to manage the process of black urbanization" (Louw 73). Any ability to govern effectively faded away as "millions o black people began pouring into the cities and overwhelmed the infrastructures" (73). In 1986, many answered Desmond Tutu's call and imposed sanctions against the government. Anti-apartheid movements across the world convinced many to separate themselves from South African investments. Strikes within the country forced the government to declare a state of emergency. Botha resigned in 1989 and his replacement, F.W. de Klerk began to take apart the structure of apartheid. After 1990, many significant changes took place including lifting the ban on African National Congress and the release of Nelson Mandela. In 1991, de Klerk ended all apartheid laws and in 1992 voters decided to grant constitutional equality to all races. De Klerk also managed to bring the National Party government into negotiations with the African National Congress and its leader, Mandela. Despite terrorist threats, the two men were able to agree to an interim constitution. For their work, Mandela and de Klerk shared the Nobel Prize in 1993. In 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa in the first representative democratic election. He served for five years. In his inaugural address, he mentions how the experience of "human disaster" (Mandela qtd. In Craig 1066) will create a society in which everyone will be proud. Mandela led the country on the grounds of pursuing a reality that he could see through suffering. Progress is being made in the country's effort to rebuild from heartbreak.

Violence did not end with Mandela's victory, however, and the African National Congress won the election in 1994. It should be noted that things did improve and between 1994 and 1996, South Africa's first democratic parliament established a new constitution for South Africa. According the Apartheid Museum website, the constitution contains "guarantees of equality more extensive than anywhere else in the world. At its heart are seven fundamental values which are represented by the pillars in the first courtyard visitors encounter on arrival at the museum: democracy, equality, reconciliation, diversity, responsibility, respect and freedom" (apartheidmuseum.org). A non-racial constitution was enacted in 1996 and while it promised hope, the unrest was hard to quell. Louw maintains that apartheid was the result of "intellectual planners... And grand schemes to reorder the world" (Louw 75). In other words, there was a huge difference between the theory and the reality of apartheid. Apartheid "treated people as objects to be moved around, developed, and reconfigured in accordance with the requirements of a grand plan" (75). In the process of attempting this great plan apartheid "generated social upheaval, human suffering, skewed resource distribution, and, eventually violent political conflict" (75). One of the negative outcomes from apartheid was the notion of separate nations under the conditions of Verwoerd. This involved relocating many individuals, and, in Loew's opinion, the "scale of human suffering caused by these relocations was colossal" (75). The violence alone should serve as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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