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South Africa and Apartheid: Have the effects of apartheid disappeared

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Apartheid was a system of laws, which were designed to keep five million white minority rule over the twenty-seven million black majority. Apartheid means ‘separateness’ and caused segregation between the two races. Although discrimination against blacks in South Africa existed long before, Apartheid officially started in 1948 and ended in 1994 after many campaigners including famously Nelson Mandela and trade sanctions, where many foreign countries would not buy South African goods which in turn increased unemployment and inflation. Instead, the African National Congress (ANC) came into power.

In this essay I will analyse the social, economic and political effects during and after apartheid in South Africa. During apartheid South Africa social effects included the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act in 1949, which banned marriages of whites to other races. The immorally Amendment Act in 1950 made all sexual relations between whites and non-whites illegal. The group Area Act in 1950 allocated separate areas to different races. This meant that non-white races where resettled by force.

It worked out to 92. 7% of the land being distributed to 1. million whites and 7. 3% of the land being distributed to 5. 5 million blacks. The population Registration Act in 1950 meant that the entire population of South Africa was to be entered into a database classifying them as white, native or coloured. Coloured people were sub-classified into other ethnic groups. The Natives Act in 1952 required all black people over the age of 16 to carry a passport book with them. Legally, these were to be presented to the police on demand. It contained personal details, employment details, poll tax and influx control.

Economic effects included the Separate Amenities Act in 1953, which provided separate amenities for white and non-white races and determined that separate amenities need not be of the same quality. The Bantu Education Act in 1953 meant that curriculum for black schools were limited, which meant that they could not have as many qualifications as the whites and so could not get as good jobs. Schools were required to be closed down if they did not stick to this curriculum. The Extension of University Act in 1959 excluded all non-white races from universities.

Only five ‘ethnic’ universities were established to school ethnic students. In 1913 The Native Land Act was passed. This disallowed blacks to buy land from whites. The Promotion of Bantu Self-government Act transformed all black reserves into self-governing homelands. This meant that the blacks were resettled by force. Political effects included not having the right to vote or take part in the government. These laws were passed to enforce racial segregation and were passed by the Union of South Africa, which was established in 1910. The ANC was established in opposition to this. The ANC wanted equal opportunities for all races.

The Suppression of Communism Act in 1950 meant that practically any organization could be classified as communist by the government and banned by the government. There was no appeal. This meant that any organization against the government would be closed down. This violated the human rights act of freedom of speech. Between the start to end of Apartheid (1913 – 1948), whites increasingly dominated over the blacks. Laws of segregation were designed to enforce this. Laws such as Bantu Education Act which limited the curriculum for black students kept whites in labour power in the long run.

Because the blacks had no vote or no freedom of speech, they were not listened to. This meant that the vast minority of whites were making decisions for the majority of non-whites. Apartheid ended in 1994 because of a number of reasons. On a regional scale, small protests began to increase. An example of this is in Soweto in 1976. At this time, black schools became overcrowded with some fifty students in each class. There was a great deal in lack of facilities such as textbooks and teachers were often poorly qualified. Many students became angry.

In 1976 the minister of Education announced that a half of all the subjects taught by the schools were to be taught in Afrikaans. Afrikaans was the language spoken by the white minority and was spoken nowhere else in the world. Only very few teachers were able to speak it. This began protests in school after school. Finally, on 16th June, of that year, pupils from many Soweto schools planned to march from one school in Soweto to the Orlando Stadium. Their aim was for the government to improve their quality of schools and for not to be taught in Afrikaans. The atmosphere was described by one leader as “cool and calm”.

As a result of this, the police arrived and although journalists were not able to recall what happened exactly, it is estimated that nearly 100 students were killed by the police. Journalists described stones being thrown by both the students and the police, then the police firing shots at the students. Afterwards, the police took every step to prevent a full list of students killed to be compiled. Journalists were not allowed near the site. On a national scale, between the 1950s to the 1980s, the ANC became more and more active. It increased in number and power and they published a ‘freedom charter’ showing their aims.

By encouraging blacks to use white facilities and to throw away their passbooks, the ANC directly confronted the laws of the Union of South Africa. Although, many members of the ANC were arrested, it continued to grow in number. Leaders of the ANC including Nelson Mandela were especially unsafe. Oliver Tamber, one ANC leader had to go into exile. Walter Susulu and Nelson Mandela went underground but were later sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1960, the ANC carried out a peaceful protest in Sharpsville. As a result of this, 69 members died and 180 were wounded.

However, after this, the ANC proved to be a growing pressure to end Apartheid. On an international scale, many foreign countries, appalled by the Apartheid laws, implemented trade sanctions so that foreign countries would no longer buy South African goods. They also no longer invested money into South Africa. This badly hurt the South African economy where unemployment and inflation started to grow. As well as this, there was a sports boycott which stopped South Africa taking part in international sport such as athletics and cricket and in 1976 South Africa was banned from taking part in the Summer Olympics.

These factors led to FW de Clerk, the president of South Africa to end Apartheid in 1994. He realised that apartheid was crippling the South African economy. Following this, 32 political organisations including the ANC were un-banned and Nelson Mandela and the other ANC members who were imprisoned were released. In 1994 South Africa held it’s first multi-racial election where everyone was entitled to a vote. This led to the ANC coming into power with nelson Mandela as the first black president of south Africa. Since Apartheid have things improved? To answer this question I will evaluate the following sources:

Source A shows the level of education by race among those aged over twenty years of age. According to the source, 17% of African people have had no education and 13. 5% have had St 10 level whereas 0%of white people have had no education and 42% have had St 10 level. I have chosen to compare the percentage of people who have had no education and those who have had up to St 10, as opposed to higher than St 10, because I believe that these two levels show whether a person is educated enough or not. I do not believe that an individual who has not been educated higher than St 10 is not educated.

The two comparisons show that the whites are still very much more educated than the Africans even after Apartheid has finished. However, besides the results, a number of factors make these results inaccurate. Firstly, these statistics were published in 1995 which is only a year since Apartheid was abolished and presuming that the ten levels each represent a year, it will take at least ten years for an individual to obtain the St 10 level. Therefore the one year that it has taken since the end of apartheid is too short for there to be any significant difference in the change of education levels.

Secondly, the caption in Source A which states that “40% of Africans over the age of 60 have never been to school, the figure for those under 20 is less than 3%. ” Facts like these are not shown in the graph and yet show that in fact the level of education is rising for Africans. Thirdly, there may be reasonable explanations as to why the Africans do not go to school, for example an African child may have to work instead to support his/her family or may not be able to afford equipment such as textbooks.

In order to look at how education has changed since the end of apartheid, these factors must be taken into account as well as the graph so with this in mind, I believe that although the source does not necessarily show improvements in education, I believe that it shows signs of improvement which are yet to come. Source A is a reliable source because they are government statistics. Source B is a Policy Document released by the ANC and shows that employment has not improved since three years after Apartheid had ended.

It states “unemployment … s unacceptably high,” however, this high unemployment is justified by the fact that the time since apartheid is too short for there to be any significant improvements. It states this by saying that “the problem is made worse by the inadequate education and training which most of our people received under apartheid”. The source is very reliable because although it is released by the ANC which may make the source biased by only showing signs of improvement since the end of Apartheid, it has shown that employment is in fact as low as it was before Apartheid.

Apart from honesty, there would be no other reason that the ANC would otherwise release this document. Source C shows that in fact unemployment rates for Africans have increased since 1994. Although it may be argued that only one of the four races has decreased in unemployment, the graph shows that the unemployment has risen significantly higher than that of the whites which shows that employment is worse than it was under Apartheid. However, because the graph is five years out of date, unemployment rates are likely to be very different today, which may suggest that employment has improved since apartheid.

This source is very reliable because it is official. Source D shows the average monthly salaries of African, coloured, Indian and white people in the construction industry. According to the graph, all races are receiving more Rands per month in 1997 than in 1996, however the whites still earn more Rands per month than Africans and also the amount of money increased from 1996 is considerably less than that of the white construction workers.

However, it does not show what jobs the workers have within the industry so for example, the white workers may have a more skilled job by coincidence than the African workers. Also, the source is quite unreliable because it does not show where the results are from nor when these results were released. Source E shows the source of health care for each household. According to the graph, the vast majority of Africans received public healthcare with 81% using either a public hospital or clinic whereas the majority of whites received private healthcare with 80% using a private doctor or by other private means.

I think that this graph shows an accurate picture of South Africa because, whereas for example education cannot improve in a single year, whether or not blacks can receive equal healthcare as whites can be improved. However, the caption states “healthcare standards for African do seem to have improved in recent years” which suggests that the situation was even worse before and the health care is getting better. The source is from a household survey and is fairly reliable but not as reliable as official statistics.

Source F is a quote from a TV report from a journalist. He claimed that “87% of African children suffer from poor health” and “25% of African children under 6 years old suffer from chronic malnutrition”. According to this source, 4 years after the end of Apartheid there is still unequal healthcare between whites and Africans. This source is very unreliable however because firstly, none of these figures are official or are quoted from a medical professional. Secondly, because the source is from a TV program, the story may be exaggerated in order to gain higher ratings.

Source G is a newspaper article extract that describes the sight of ‘informal settlements’. It describes the black townships as “little shacks that provide one room for a family”. The source is very reliable because it is from ‘the observer’, which is a broadsheet newspaper and is fairly recent. It is also, in some ways better than a graph because it is a first-hand account of the place. The source shows that five years under the ANC government and little has been changed. Source H shows that housing facilities have improved and is released by the ANC.

It states “a further 600,000 people have gained access to clean drinking water” however, the source does not state how many people do not have access to clean drinking water or indeed the percentage of people that have access. This source is likely to be fairly reliable in that the figures are fairly accurate but the way the information is presented and the context that it is in does not show an accurate picture of south Africa. I. e. the source sounds like there have been major improvements when there have not.

Source I and J are household surveys to show the sizes of different races’ houses and the distribution of services used by households. Source I shows that with 21% of Africans having 6 or more rooms and 39% having 1-3rooms compared to 62%of whites having 6 or more rooms and 3% having 1-3 rooms, whites have bigger houses than Africans. Although the source does not show the condition of the houses nor how many people live in each house, as there are almost five times more blacks as there are whites, it is right to assume that this would only further show that whites have bigger and better quality houses than Africans.

According to source J, much less Africans have household services than whites. For example, 32. 7% of Africans have running tap-water compared to the 96. 9% of whites. These two sources are fairly accurate because they are household surveys. Source K shows that white South Africans have a considerably higher quality of life than black south Africans. The Human development index (HDI) is an accurate way of measuring a quality of life which makes this source reliable. In the index rating, the White South Africans are 24th in between Spain and Hong Kong whereas black south Africans are 123rd in between cape Verde and Congo.

The source also shows that despite south Africa having a ‘normal looking’ HDI it is a country of two extremes, the rich whites and the poor blacks. Source L gives a general idea that South Africa has a very high crime rate. However, the statistics shown such as “300 robberies a day” are not very useful because they are not compared to the crime rates of any other country. Also, it does not take into account the large population of South Africa. The facts and figures in the source are likely to be reliable because it is from a broadsheet newspaper but are written out of context.

Also, the last two paragraphs are not backed up with any facts or figures and are all feelings. This may be the view of a small minority of people so the source is not very reliable in showing the overall crime rate of south Africa but is useful because it shows different points of view. On the other hand, Source M is from a household survey and shows the overall amount of security that each racial group has in South Africa. According to the graph, 77% of blacks felt very safe or rather safe which is the same as the 775 of whites who also thought so.

However, this source is quite unreliable because it is possible that different races may classify different safe or unsafe levels differently to each other. For example, what a black South African may consider rather safe may be rather unsafe to a white South African. Also, it is easy to forget that just because a person ‘feels’ safe, does not necessarily mean that he/she ‘is’ safe. Source N shows the views of a black shop assistant in 1999. The source shows that she has been quite pleased with the progress made so far by the ANC and want then to carry on. She says: “I am voting ANC because Mbeki is like Mandela”.

The source is very recent and is from The Guardian, which is a broadsheet newspaper so I think that that it is fair, to say that this is a common view held by the 66% of Mbeki’s voters. However, although only 66% voted for the election with many white, mixed race and Asian voters supporting opposition parties, Mr Mbeki believed he had the support of all communities. In source O he says: “our people, both black and white, have mandated us to remain firm in the pursuit of our vision”. The source is reliable because it has been quoted from Mr. Mbeki’s victory speech the day after the election.

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