Apartheid Essay

2500 Words10 Pages
The struggle to end apartheid in South Africa appears, at the dawn of the twenty first century, to be an aberration of social and world history. Viewed within the context of the pervasive civil rights movement in North America and the abolition of slavery (first in Britain at the beginning of the nineteenth century and followed by America after the Civil War in 1865), apartheid seems like a medieval notion that was imprinted upon modern history; an anachronistic nightmare imposed on civilized society. In a world that had banished National Socialism and seen the back of Stalin, the Immorality Amendment Act (1961) remained a legal statute in South Africa until 1985, making sexual relations between whites and nonwhites an unlawful act under apartheid. Yet the very singularity of apartheid remained a key reason for its longevity: for as long as South Africa could be isolated and swept under the international diplomatic rug the rest of the free world could comfort itself in its liberal attitude to race relations while leaving the citizens of South Africa to play the role of international pariahs. However, as Barber ascertains, “although western governments continued to criticize apartheid, their criticism was often drowned out by accusations of their hypocrisy.” For the purposes of this study, analysis will take a chronological form, tracking the genesis of apartheid as a political creed to understand how it became a part of the South African way of life. In this way it will be shown how apartheid took so long to be rooted out of the national culture. The greatest mistake for historians today is to view South Africa from a solely British colonial perspective. It is important to understand that the country had a long and rich social history before the arrival of the British. It was a legacy tainted with taut race relations between the indigenous African tribes and

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