Posted: March 24th, 2023
Apartheid started as early as 1652 when the Dutch first occupied South Africa. Unfortunately, white superiority remained an evident ideology until this country gained its independence in 1994. Anglo-European supremacy discriminated Afrikaans in all aspects, including political, social, and economic approaches. Therefore, to understand the Apartheid, it is imperative to define the term and its impacts as well as provide the reasons that greatly contributed to its collapse.
Apartheid is defined as a legalized superiority framework enacted by the white minority group in South Africa to expose the majority Africans to extreme ethnicity and racism (Kithinji, 2015, p. 207). White supremacy in South Africa had many impacts on the social-economic aspect of the Africans in this state. First, the European occupation socially affected the country through eliminating its indigenous inhabitants, the Khoikhoi, since they could not survive the hostilities and continued welfares with the Dutch (Kithinji, 2015, p. 207). Further, South African majority occupants were exposed to strident policies that extremely dehumanized and dispossessed them of their privileges and liberties (Kithinji, 2015, p. 209). The laws enacted led to the economic decline of the Afrikaans as the top position in the mines were reserved for white settlers, while majority inhabitants were given only an eighth of the land in South Africa, with the rest left for European settlers.
Socially, Africans were largely segregated to the extent of being forcefully located in a restricted location within urban centers, while immigration rules significantly reduced Afrikaans movement in and out of major towns. Africans were also denied voting rights, even in cities like Cape Town, while mixed marriages were prohibited on immorality claims (Kithinji, 2015, p. 209). Africans underwent inferior curriculums and were not allowed to join the same higher institutions as white students, which eliminated their chances of becoming economically or socially empowered to fight apartheid (Kithinji, 2015, p. 211). In fact, they remained more challenged in all aspects of education.
The collapse of apartheid was a gradual process that greatly attributes its success to the political and economic instability that faced South Africa after World War II. In 1941, Africa saw the rise of Pan-Africanism, where states were encouraged to fight for their self-governance (Kithinji, 2015, p. 212). Therefore, renowned leaders like Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu revived the African National Congress (ANC), where they led young people in peacefully resisting apartheid through boycotts, civil disobedience, and powerful strikes. Then after the Sharpeville killings, South Africa started to experience gradually declining economic growth as the country became isolated internationally, a situation that led to reduced exportation and a currency fall (Kithinji, 2015, p. 213). As such, anti-apartheid protestors resulted to armed guerillas, where they resorted to attacking government assets, especially the already built infrastructures that facilitated movement of goods and services in and out of South Africa.
The emergence of the Black Movement Party (BCM) also led to the collapse of apartheid as more young and educated people recognized the need to fight against white supremacy. Under Steve Biko, BCM resulted in the rise of African youth revolts that brought back ANC and once again shook the apartheid regime in South Africa (Kithinji, 2015, p. 215). Nonetheless, the cold war politics and the international isolation significantly led to the end of apartheid as the white population became less in South Africa, resulting in a weak regime. In fact, the black people had the tyranny of numbers, and the settlers continued to experience more economic upheavals.
Apartheid was the most tedious era in the African continent’s colonization history. Due to this ideological affiliation, black people in South Africa faced extreme racism and dehumanizing acts due to their skin colors. Africans faced social segregation, deprived their liberties, and lived in an intolerable condition. In fact, their economic well-being faced serious issues as Africans were provided with low paying jobs and inferior educational opportunities that could not nurture their skills. However, with the rise of educated Africans and Pan-Africanism, the apartheid faced a big blow in its economic and political aspect, thus leading to the collapse of the white superiority complex in South Africa.
Kithinji, M, M. (2015). Towards an African Renaissance: Pan-Africanism and African in the diaspora (re)Tracing Africa: A Multi Disciplinary Study of African History, Societies, and Cultures. Ed. Salome Nnoromele and Ogechi.Anyanwu, Kendall Hunt.
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