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Apartheid

Apartheid Legislation

After the National Party victory in 1948, a battery of laws was enacted to strictly segregate South African society by race, ethnicity, and class. The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 outlawed marriages between whites and blacks. The Population Registration Act of 1950 required that each adult South African be classified by ethnic group as follows: white (Afrikaners and English), Coloured (mixed race, Asian [mostly Indian]), and African (Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele, Swazi, Basotho, Batswana, Bapedi, Venda, and Tsonga). In 1951 South Africa's "African" population was approximately 8.5 million, nearly four-fifths of the entire population.

The Group Areas Act of 1950 enforced the residential segregation of Coloureds and Indians. These groups could not use public facilities outside residential boundaries.

The Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 forced the disbandment of the South African Communist Party and a diplomatic break with the Soviet Union. The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 abolished the Natives Representative Council, replacing it with indirect rule. The Natives (Abolition of Passes and Coordination of Documents) Act of 1952 required the assignment of detailed reference books to all pass holders detailing their background, employment, and residential rights outside the reserves.

Parliament also passed the Bantu Education Act of 1953, providing for state control of African schools, which had mostly been founded by missionary societies, at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. The Ministry of Native Affairs planned a curriculum to prepare the "Bantu" (South African blacks) to occupy a servile position in South African society. Undocumented Africans were removed from urban areas to rural homelands under the provisions of the Native Resettlement Act of 1954. Cape Coloureds were removed from the common voters' roll in the Cape Province in 1956.

When Hendrik F. Verwoerd, minister of native affairs from 1950, became prime minister in 1958, he continued to initiate apartheid legislation compatible with his views regarding "separate development." The Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959 provided for the creation of eight national units for African self-government supposedly reflective of African ethnic groupings. Since urban blacks had no political representation, it devolved upon chiefs to act as roving ambassadors between African subjects in the urban areas and those resident in homelands. Homelands or reserve areas represented 13.7 percent of the land.

The Bantu Homelands Act of 1970 required that all Africans be given exclusive citizenship in a homeland, disregarding place of birth and current residence. In 1972 Zululand and Bophuthatswana were granted self-governing status, while Transkei, self-governing since 1963, was given more autonomy as the model homeland. Transkei's "independence" in 1976 was followed by Bophuthatswana in 1977, Venda in 1979, and Ciskei in 1981.

The Western Cape was declared a Coloured labor preference area in the 1950s. Indians, granted citizenship in 1963, experienced racial discrimination in residential and trading rights.

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