This ModernAmerica Wikispaces page compiled and edited by: Ian Cook and Stavros Vorias


• apartheid a policy of total separation of races in South Africa with goal of white domination. Brutal enforcement, and a movement reminiscent of the American Civil Rights Movement
• US and others used economic and social sanctions to force policy change
• in 1990 Mandela released from prison and worked w/govt. to end apartheid

An Afrikaner government came into power in South Africa in 1948. The Afrikaner National Party got a strong majority. So, they instituted apartheid to help cement their control. It formalized and made more rigid the racial barriers in South Africa. The government's policy aimed at complete social, economic and political separation of the races, while ensuring white supremacy. Some jobs became "white-only" and marriage between whites and any other ethnicity was not allowed. In 1950 the Population REgistration Act required all South Africans to be classified by race into 3 categories: white (which is obvious), black (African), and colored (which was mixed descent). Black areas were created that restricted the movement of non-whites. They had to have a pass book to get access to white places. In `51 teh Bantu Authorities Act established "homelands", which which Africans were assigned to based on their "record of origin" which was often inaccurate. A basis for ethnic government was created in the homelands, and all political rights for blacks was restricted to the homelaneds. They lost South African citizenship while still totally controlled by the South African government. From `76 to `81 four homelands were created, denationalizing about 9 million South Africans. These homelands were often crowded and barren, so many blacks had to obtain pass books to go to work for whites.
There were many examples of black resistance to apartheid. One of the most important was the Soweto riots. Soweto was a collection of townships outside of Johannesburg, where the blacks worked. On June 16, of `76, 15 thousand children marched in protest of the new policy that required black students to learn Afrikaans alongside English, the official language. They wouldn't leave and the police fired into the crowd, killing and wounding several students. After thiss event, riots spread across Soweto and other cities, and were put down through often brutal tactics.
As nations saw what was going on in South Africa they began to pressure the Afrikaner government to cease its actions. Many put up posters that told their citizens to resist assisting the South African government, mostly in the way of boycotting aprtheid. Companies like Mobil Corp, Goodyear, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and National Cash REgister all withdrew any offices, factories, etc from South Africa to protest apartheid. The UN also resisted apartheid. They issued a series of declarations urging member states to embargo South Africa:
  • 1977: The UN issues a mandatory arms embargo South AFrica. It tells countries that are part of it to stop selling any arms or related things to South Africa at all.
  • 1980: UN committee that is supposed to increase the embargo asks the Security Council to ban items that could used for multiple purposes, like aircraft.
  • 1985: The UN bans the the sales of computers to South Africa at the advice of the Security Council.
  • 1986: The Security Council tells all countries part of the UN to stop exporting things that could be used by the military.
Note: Timeline adapted from a timeline by Stanford.
For a more expanded timeline about the UN's involvement visit their site on apartheid and Nelson Mandela.

At the same time as the outside world was protesting, Nelson Mandela began a movement inside the country. In `44 he joined the African National Congress. This put him on the road to his "career for freedom". In `59 he was elected president of his area's ANC. He began to work with others against the government in many ways, all non-violent. He was arrested in 1964 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Behind bars on Robben Island he became the symbol of the resistance to apartheid. Free Mandela was a familiar cry worldwide.
F.W. de Klerk was elected President of South Africa on September 14th, 1990. A week after his election he allowed 20,000 people, who were mostly black (if not all), to march on Cape Town to protest apartheid. On October 11th he met with Desmond Tutu to to with him on matters concerning the country. In this same year, he ordered the release of 8 prisoners who were black anti-apartheid activists. In November, de Klerk announced that he would desegregate beaches and certain other public facilities, like libraries. But, he would not desegregate schools, hospitals, or neighborhoods. In that same year, de Klerk unbanned the ANC and realeased Nelson Mandela from prison, in which he had been for 28 years. Everyone was extremely happy. Mandela and de Klerk worked together to get a peaceful transition to a multi-racial South Africa. He was elected the president of the ANC in `91. He shared recieving a Nobel Peace Prize for ending apartheid with de Klerk in `93. In `94 Nelson Mandela was elected as the country's first black President.
The situation began to improve for the black portion of the population after de Klerk and Mandela worked to end apartheid and Mandela became South Africa's president. Things still weren't great in the following years, but it was better than no improvement. In `94 49% of blacks and 97% of whites passed the exam to leave school, even though blacks were 75% of the poplulation. From `94-`97 1.2 million houses were wired with electricity and 1.7 had fresh water taps installed. Between `90-`97 black rose from making up 2% of rich people to 6%. Through the years `91-`97 blacks gained control of 9% of the stock market from controlling none.
Now, things are much better for the blacks. Between`03 and `07 unemployment had fallen by about 6%. This is the strongest job creation performance since 1994. In `96 to `07, he number of households that used electricity increased from 56% in to 80%, and the number of houses that had access to good water rose from 61% to 70%. South Africa's investment in education has tripled since the end of apartheid in 1994, and of the 12 million kids in South Africa that can go to school, over 90% are there.

For mulitmedia on Nelson Mandela visit this UN page.
To read excerpts from some of his speeches download this file:
or go to this page.

Source Annotation
Summary: Stanford's Computer Science Department has made a a few pages on the history of apartheid. It starts off with the story of English and Dutch imperialism in South Africa. The it goes on to describe when the apartheid laws were enacted, what they entailed, and the beginning of "Grand Apartheid". Then the changes and additions the apartheid laws are stated. After all this, the site tells of the role in computer in South African apartheid.Tells all about the technology from then and now in South Africa.
Assess:The information seems fairly good and accurate. It matches with other resources I've used. It gets pretty specific about some of the laws enacted. One thing that was annoying was that most of the information - after the historical part - revolves around computer and their roles in apartheid and its end, but the site has great detail that gives you some less known information. Also, it can really help if your not just looking big ideas but some of the small details.
Reflect: This is a good site for getting introduced to apartheid and getting a very simple history of it. But, the site does not give a whole lot of info on the subject. I was left only with an idea of the computer side of things and was wondering what other things played a role in apartheid.
Summary: This source is a many-page web exhibit on the history of apartheid, from the beginning to its end. HistoryWiz's apartheid exhibit talks about the original inhabitants of the South African area, how they lived, when the Dutch came to the area, and how whites imposed themselves and oppressed the blacks. Pictures are included all over to supplement the words or vice versa. Political leaders of the anti-apartheid movement are named, examples of the demonstrations are given, effects are explained, etc. Apartheid is exposed in its fullest, and the involvement goals of organizations like the ANC, the UN, and the Afrikaner parties. The site will explain how apartheid rose and how it fell.
Assess: There is a multitude of information regarding apartheid across South African history. It spans much time and gives backgrounds, outcomes, and definitions. One problem with this source is that sometimes it isn't very thorough. On some pages, there are a couple of pictures and a few sentences. Others just have paragraphs explaining one event. Pages can have a fair amount of ideas about what happened but not a lot of detail. All of it is good information and educational, but it isn't extensive. I would recommend this site for people hoping to start to learn about apartheid in South Africa.
Reflect: This was the site I liked the best. By telling you the background of South Africa you found that the things concerning apartheid made a lot more sense. One thing I didn't like was some pages only had pictures, and i wanted more information to go along with them. Overall, it really taught me a lot.
Summary: This is a site with a little about eveything before and after apartheid. From after the the Anglo-Boer war to the end of apartheid.It has a lot of good all that you would need toknow about whaty led up to durring and after apartheid.
Assess: The site has tons of info but it may not be as detailed as some may like, but all round it awesome site with perfect information and could help answer any question.

The American Annual 1990
Summary: The American Annual is a sort of encyclopedia of all events that happened in 1990. I looked through it and found a short blurb on things that were done the end apartheid, mostly by F.W. de Klerk, but inluded other statistics on other subjects as well. I found out about the things de Klerk had to aid the end of apartheid, and laws he made. The book has a few pictures to show you the people and events that it talks about.
Assess: It does not have a lot of information on my subject, and doesn't see, to have a huge amount on other ones. It is more wide than deep. If, someone was looking for more knowledge, I would not recommend using this source. It is not comprehensive at all.
Reflect: This was not very good; it just had a few paragraphs on apartheid. I was asking a lot of questions that this book couldn't answer, and if you were trying to find some important things that happened in the 1900s from this book, I don't think you would choose apartheid in South Africa. I did not have a good amount of info and I couldn't relate it to what I already knew of the subject.

The 1900s
Summary: Much material is covered in this book. It sums up all important events of the 20th Century. So, this book is also not a book solely on the topic of apartheid. But, it did give some interesting information when I got to the part talking about my area of research. This book mostly gave statistics on living conditions before and after apartheid, or statistics about improvement in the years following the abolishment of apartheid. Once again, I would not recommend this book to anyone interested learning in apartheid.
Assess: Data given in this book is quality information. So are the other facts presented to you. But it doesn't really cover what happened under apartheid. The book explains what apartheid was and gave a few examples of things done, but doesn't really go into depth. I think that what you learn from this source is good stuff, but you wont learn a whole lot about apartheid.
Reflect: I thought this source was interesting because of the data it gave you about apartheid. A lot of things you hear, or at least the impression that you get often is that after Mandela took over everything was all fine and good. The numbers provided really tell a different story, painting apartheid's end in a slightly different light. Things did get better, but not great right away, and they often took a long time to improve any.

Reader's Digest: Illustrated history of South Africa
Summary:This is pretty much the biggest encyclopedia for a country you will ever see. The speaks all south african history and has a gigantic section on Apartheid. perfect any information you need either on south africa or just Apartheid.
Assess:This is best and most accurate information I have found. It has everything that I found in both web sources and any other books I found.It tells all information from the begining to end. From main ideas to the small background details that you probably wouldn't find anywhere else. If there was a place to look for information on apartheid I would definetly go check this book first.

Reflections and Conclusions

Apartheid has always been a subject of interest to me ever since I learned about it. I have always wondered, just as I have about slavery and the Holocaust, how and why would one human being do this to another. Every time I think about it, I cannot believe it. So, when I saw this as one of the possible topics to research, I was drawn to it. I wanted to find out more about apartheid, especially after seeing Invictuswith Morgan Freeman. In this I learned a lot more about what it was like for people in South Africa during, before, and after apartheid's reign, and their struggles all the way through. I still don't know the whole history, but it is better than knowing nothing. One thing I didn't really know but though was interesting was that I didn't really know de Klerk's involvement in the End of Apartheid. I have a lot of respect for that guy now. Apartheid was a huge struggle for those involved at the bad end, it seems. I wonder how people will and have compared it to the segregation in America? I also wonder if there are any deniers in white society of how bad it really was for the blacks. I guess there's bound to be some. I am glad I chose this topic too, it was very intriguing to research. Still, I would like to more about what the whole movement did as many of its event and how it pushed for freedom in a more detailed way.

As above also stated ever since first learning about apartheid It has always been one of those subjects I always wanted to learn more about. Its a strange and it interesting topic very similar to slavery in some ways. I remember the first time i learned about apartheid was a while back. I think I was in like second grade and I was watching the movie The Power of One. It was an unteresting story about a boy named Peekay an his life growning up
in South Africa during apartheid and what he did to help the South Africans. It weird to so how badly people were being treated. Ever since then I'v taken every chance

to learn more about the subject. I might not be an apartheid expert but this really helped me to learn more about this topic. I'm not sure what about apartheid is the most interesting .I don't have really any questions, but if there was any more to know about apartheid I would like to learn a tad bit more on some of the smaller things that went into helping end apartheid. ( sorry about the weird spacing only way i could keep from writing over stuff.)


A Youtube video of Nelson Mandela's Inaugural Adress.

A Short documentary on apartheid in africa from 1957.

A Wordle of Nelson Mandel's 1964 speech before he was sent to prison by the Afrikaner government. (it is a link to a bigger picture).
Wordle: Nelson Mandela 1964 Speech
The cover of a TIME Magazine that reports on the events in South Africa. Dated August 5th, 1985.
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Link to a United Nations slideshow on apartheid.
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A graph showing the inequalities of apartheid and the distribution of wealth and property as well as benifits like education and medical treatment among the populace.
external image mandela.jpg
A picture a Nelson Mandela in prison.
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A graph showing average income of Whites and blacks durring and after apartheid.

Works Cited

The American Annual 1990. Grolier. 1990. Print
Bitter Union: the Story of South Africa. HistoryWiz. Web. 10 May 2011.
The History of Apartheid in South Africa. Stanford Computer Science. Web. 10 May 2011.
Miller, James. The 1900s. Greenhaven Press. San Diego. 2001. Print.
"Time Covers #3250-3299." Cover Browser. Web. 22 May 2011.
"Great Speeches Collection: Nelson Mandela Speech - I Am Prepared to Die." The History Place. Web. 22 May 2011.
International Marketing Council of South Africa. "South Africa Today -" South Africa's Official Gateway - Investment, Travel, Country Information - Big Media Publishers. Web. 23 May 2011.
United Nations Web Services Section. "Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18, For Freedom, Justice and Democracy." Welcome to the United Nations: It's Your World. United Nations. Web. 24 May 2011.