Racial segregation is a significant problem that shaped the development of many countries and societies. In South Africa, apartheid was the institutionalized segregation of black people throughout the country. It had substantial repercussions for South Africa and its citizens, both positive and negative. Nelson Mandela played a crucial role in ending apartheid. The present paper will explore apartheid from beginning to end while also clarifying Nelson Mandela’s role.
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South Africa’s development was heavily impacted by colonization. Due to its favorable geographic location, colonizers from various European countries, including the Netherlands and Britain, sought to occupy the land. The tensions between the indigenous people of South Africa and the colonizers resulted in racial conflict, which created a foundation for segregation. After the colonies merged, and the Union of South Africa was established, the opposition between native and white people strengthened. Apartheid started in 1948 as a policy introduced by the National Party to establish separate development of different racial groups in South Africa (“A history of Apartheid”, 2019). In theory, this could have contributed to cultural preservation and multiculturalism.
However, in reality, apartheid facilitated racial segregation on all levels. For example, under apartheid, “non-white South Africans (a majority of the population) would be forced to live in separate areas from whites and use separate public facilities, and contact between the two groups would be limited” (“Apartheid”, 2019, para. 1). Marriages and sexual relations between white people and those of other races were prohibited, and non-white people had to carry passes to enter restricted public areas (“Apartheid”, 2019).
The participation of non-white people in politics was banned, and even the activity of labor unions advocating for non-white workers was limited (“Apartheid”, 2019). As a result, apartheid promoted racial inequality and prevented the parallel development of various races while also opposing democracy.
Apartheid in South Africa impacted world history in two ways. On the one hand, apartheid supported the idea of white supremacy and black inferiority. At the time, non-white people in many other areas of the world were facing segregation and discrimination. The South African policy supported the opposition between white supremacists and people from other ethnicities. On the other hand, the fight against apartheid and the outrage toward injustice also contributed to the development of equal rights movements around the world. In a way, apartheid in South Africa drew attention to the issues of discrimination and segregation, thus inspiring the fight for freedom in other countries.
The defeat of the apartheid policy is widely attributed to Nelson Mandela, who was one of the most famous opposers of apartheid. Having faced discrimination throughout his life, Mandela wanted to end racial discrimination and segregation in South Africa. When apartheid was introduced in 1948, Mandela was a member of the African National Congress. He used his political position to encourage peaceful protests against the policy. Nevertheless, as these protests turned out to be futile, the party started using violent tactics. Along with other civil rights activists, Mandela was labeled a terrorist, and further activity led to his imprisonment (“Nelson Mandela”, 2019).
Mandela’s activity drew international attention, forcing a change of views in the South African government. The president of South Africa released Nelson Mandela from jail and worked together with him to put an end to apartheid laws and their effects (Nelson Mandela, 2019). In 1994, Mandela won the elections, becoming South Africa’s first democratic president.
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Overall, the apartheid was a crucial period in South Africa’s development. The policy provided legal foundations for the forceful segregation of non-white citizens, leading to social, economic, and political inequality. Apartheid played an essential role in the development of civil rights movements all over the world, thus also having a substantial effect on global history. Nelson Mandela was one of the main opposers to apartheid, and his actions, although violent at times, led to the ending of apartheid and the establishment of democracy in South Africa.
A history of apartheid in South Africa. (2019). Web.
Apartheid. (2019). Web.
Nelson Mandela: Father of the nation. (2019). Web.