Seeds: In 1948, an all-white national party gained power in South Africa and began installing segregation laws. The party won on the slogan “apartheid,” which translates to “separateness” from Afrikaans. This party not only wanted to separate the white minority from the rest of the population, but also divide native African tribes to decrease their political power. Interracial marriage was banned, every person had to be classified by race in government documents, 80 % of public land was set aside for the white minority, and all non-white participation in national government was denied.
Core: On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years of incarceration for his activism. He was a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa for several years, and he consistently denied recanting his political statements to expedite his release from prison. After his release, Mandela continued to work to establish a multiracial government and was eventually inaugurated as the country’s first black president in 1994. In 1996, he enacted a new constitution and remained an activist for peace and equality until his dying day.
Skin: The anti-apartheid activists relied heavily on international media to fuel their cause. While domestic media during the apartheid era was heavily censored, enough activist press leaked through, spurring international discussion.
Leaves: On June 17,1991, the South African government repealed the apartheid laws, but tensions between races and tribes still remained. To this day, the country struggles with political corruption, violent crime, and HIV/AIDS. In some rural areas, racial equality is still elusive, even twenty years after the end of apartheid.
Food for thought: Do you think that this kind of racial/ethnic segregation remains a prevalent problem in other developed countries? What about racism or ethnic discrimination? Tell us what you think.
Think we missed something? Tell us in the comments.