Apartheid Regime in South Africa Essay Sample

Apartheid Regime in South Africa Pages
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Document 1:
A) Describe what is happening in this photograph from the Apartheid era in South Africa. * Shows an entire street of houses having their belongings being packed on trucks at the same time. * The people being moved are black South Africans

* They are being organised and assisted by white men.
B) Use document 1 and your own knowledge to explain the process this action was part of and the reasons the South African Government implemented it. After 1948, the National Party Government of South Africa brought in a series of laws to further institutionalise the segregation of black and white South Africans after 1948. This was known as the policy of ‘Apartheid’ or ‘apartness’ and was based on the belief that South Africa was made up of four distinct racial groups – white, black, coloured and Indian and that it was culturally preferential that the races did not mix. This policy, however, also provided a basis for the use of cheap labour to support South Africa’s industry. The ground work for separation of racial groups had been laid much earlier with the Native Land Act of 1913 which prevented black South Africans from purchasing land outside ‘reserves’ and the Urban Areas Act of 1923 which forced residential segregation in cities and provided cheap labour close at hand for business and industry.

The Group Areas Act of 1950 determined where one lived according to race. Each race was allotted its own area and forced removal occurred systematically. In 1951 Black South Africans were designated ‘Homelands’ or ‘Bantustans’ with the Bantu Authorities Act. These ‘homelands’ amounted to 13% of the country’s land, the remainder being reserved for the white population. Therefore, this Document shows the packing up and removal of a street full of Black South Africans by whites in keeping with the belief in racial separation which was the basis of ‘Apartheid’. It does not detail a date, but could be from anytime from the 1920’s onwards with forced removal occurring to specific areas in the cities or to ‘Homelands’. C) Explain the benefits and limitations of Document 1 for a historian studying the maintenance of authority in the Apartheid regime.

The document is a primary source, being a photograph taken at the time. It shows white authority organising removal of black south Africans from their homes and gives the impression of mass disruption to people’s lives as furniture is loaded on to trucks. The white men who appear to be in charge and the number of trucks suggest well run and organised removal of people’s belongings. The benefit to the historian studying this photo is in the depiction of white authority systematically organising a mass of people to move according to its political beliefs and underlines the power the Apartheid regime had to force 90% of the population to submit to its policies.

The limitations of the document lie in the uncertainty of the date and what specific law is being implemented – whether it is the Urban areas Act of 1923 or the Bantu Authorities Act of 1951. Whichever law is being enacted here, the photograph shows disruption of a large number of people as a whole neighbourhood is moved, indicating the use of segregation to control the black South African population during the Apartheid era. The motives behind publication of this photo is to underline the mass re-organisation of people’s lives to fit in with Government policy and it is meant to illustrate this to an audience. The fact that no violence seems to be being used would suggest to an audience that the populace has accepted the implementation of this policy and government authority. The photo is therefore limited in that it does not reflect any backlash or protest that occurred during this era.

Document 2
A) List 3 things described by this journalist that points towards abuse of power by the South African police in this instance. * No order to disperse
* No warning shots
* Children shot in the back
B) Using this document and your own knowledge, explain the reasons behind this incident in Soweto in June 1976 * Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974- 50% instruction in Afrikaans * Black South Africans preferred English as Afrikaans seen as the language of Apartheid – “the language of the oppressor” (D Tutu) * Teachers objected that it would prevent critical thinking as students would be too focussed on the language * Students formed the Soweto Students’ Representative council’s Action Committee and organised strike action and a protest march * They were influenced and supported by the Black Consciousness Movement led by Steve Biko * The protest on 16th June was intended to be peaceful and teachers agreed on this basis. * Police blocked the road and the leaders diverted their march * When it was blocked again some threw stones at police and shots were fired. Therefore, the reasons behind the incident consisted of protest against government education policy in the township areas in South Africa under the Aparthied regime. C) Benefits and limitations of using Doc 2 to study ideas and values used to support authority in SA during Apatheid regime and role of institutions in maintaining them.

Benefits:
* Doc shows far-reaching cultural policy of Ap regime and reaction to it * English had become more predominant- reaction shows Ap regime understood value of using language as a control mechanism for authority and power * Belief that keeping Afrikaans as a living language amongst black SA made clear by Govt reactions to protest and fact black groups were not consulted * Idea that language is politically powerful and culturally important, also resistance would not be tolerated as evidenced by emotive story detailed in Doc 2 * Shows resistance of Black protest movement and concentration on youth – future

Limitations:
* Effect on audience – martyrdom of children – emotional * Skews ideas of ideas and values of regime because of violence against children * Argument about actual facts of case and whether warning shots were fired/stones thrown

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