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Segregation In Africa

The concept of segregation in Africa will be discussed within the context of the colonial period. Segregation was defined as a hierarchy with Europeans on top; Indians, Arabs, other ethnic groups, and mixed-race people (depending on the colony) in the middle; and Africans on the bottom. In settler colonies such as South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, segregation was not solely defined in racial terms but also in ethnic, religious, and gender terms. Separate schools were maintained along religious and ethnic lines in Eritrea; Saint-Louis, Senegal, had segregated areas for Christians and Muslims; and reserves in South Africa were created along ethnic lines. Throughout southern Africa, rural areas were often disproportionately populated with women after men were forced into the urban labor market to earn wages, which left women segregated in the rural areas.

One of the most important forms of segregation found throughout Africa was residential, especially in urban areas. Cities in settler colonies were designed for Europeans and in some cases Asian and Arab merchants. The more developed parts of the city were designated for Europeans, while Africans (mostly male workers) were forced into reserves, prevented from owning freehold property, denied the franchise, and forced to carry passes. Thousands of Africans, Indians, and mixed-race people were forced out of cities in the 1950s and 1960s in South Africa and Namibia.

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