Skip to main content

The Apartheid Policy


Although, South Africa had her independence on 31 October 1961 like any other African country witha colonial experience but the introduction of the “Apartheid Policy” in 1948 by Verwoerd makes the nationand its nationalsnotto havefreedom asan independent nation rathermaltreatments and separate developmentsreigned during that timewhere people of the nation lived in different areas,schooled differently and the majority indigenous blacks of the nation performed the household chores in the reserved areas for the whites minority who held the economic power. The National Partysupported the policy andthewhites had a belief all creatures are equal before God therefore there is no need of tampering with God’s plan so every racein South Africa must have its own distinct personality and separate destinybeen laid down by God. The Apartheid Policy buttressed that when races are mixed, they contaminate each other; that would destruct God’s way therefore living in the parallel and different lines should be better off and thus led to the foundation of Apartheid (Eluwa,1996).

Apartheid means separateness or separate development which anchored on racism and it has a special theory built around it. There is no way people would live in isolation because the world is globalized and interdependent, all of us need each other to survive,says the propounder of systems theory: Bertalanffy. Yet, they needed the non-white population to meet up their economic and domestic needs in their isolated environment. To convince the world on why Apartheid was needed in South Africa the government had to devise historical doctrines about the population. The homelands that were created indicated distinct territories for separate nationalities instead of races: the Bantu are in fact divided by language,culture and tradition into several peoples or nations, namely, the Xhosas of the Transkei, and the Ciskei, the Zulu of Zululand and Natal, the Swazis of Swaziland, the Pedi of Sekhukhuneland and neighbourhood, the Venda of Soutspansburg ofthe Transvaal lowveld, the Tswana ofBotswana, and the South Sotho of Lesotho.

Fortunately for each of these people or nations, history left them within their borders ofthe republic of large tracts of land which serves as their homelands…the Government’s policy is, therefore, not a policy of differentiation within the borders of their homelands-hence the policy of separate development(Cosmas,1972:28). The people of South Africa had inhuman treatment in several forms in the days of Apartheid. The minority South African families had lived in a tent and very small huts, children dying through typhoid and extreme malnutrition in the 1968, 1969 and 1970 when the nation was the richest, most advanced and most rapidly growing economy on the continent of Africa. Then it was known thatthe Whites in SouthAfrica only had the highest standard of living in the world. The South African family or community life where forced into the Whites social and economic system wherever they occupy the lowest and most despised status.To the extent the official policy made squatters not to have grazing or arable land because they are not enough land available.

In 1923 the Natives(Urban Areas)Act was passed restricting movement between Whitemen and Black communities since the nineteenth century. In 1937 theNativeLaws AmendmentAct regulated andlimited Africans to possess and procure properties that churches, schools, hospitals, etc must be located in African Territory.The Bantu AuthoritiesAct of 1951 which provided the “homelands” and tribal councils and making the African leaders to lead. This Act purely separated the White and Black political institutions and governance of the country. The Natives (Abolition ofPasses and Coordination ofDocument) Acts of 1952 makes Africans to carry books of reference at all times indicating job area and permit to live in urban area etc (Desmond, 1971). The people were totally deprived and this led to the Apartheid struggle to free the blacks. The leaders of the struggle were the men in the African National Congress (ANC) like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Thambo, WalterSisulu amongst others. They were also incarcerated in the prisons which made Nelson Mandela to spend 27years in prison and later gained freedom on 11th February 1991. Others were also imprisoned and exiled like that of President Jacob Zuma.At last the Apartheid architects and machineries had series of pressure locally and internationally to end the oppressive and inhuman government thereafter Apartheid got its climax and those fighting for their economic freedom became free and started to pilot the economy of the nation.

Apartheid seems to have ended in South Africa but in a settlement called “Orania” the remnants of Apartheid still lives on where only White population of thousand inhabits. Orania is in between Johannesburg and Cape Town with a sparsely population in the Northern Cape region of South Africa. The geography is artificially made up of irrigations canals chanelling water from nearby Orange River and five of their revered national leaders were statued- Paul Kruger, JBM Herzog, DF Malan, JG Strydom and Hendrik Verwoerd. The five leaders lived the first two thirds of the 20th century in South Africa. During the Whites domination, Kruger, President ofthe Transvaal, was brought low by the British at the end of second Boer War, he died in the Netherland while on exile and later on the Afrikaner had four prime ministers to maintain leadership. The five past leaders once had their statues at public offices and areas but modern South Africa replaced them with Nelson Mandela’s monuments and busts. The few black and brown people you find there are on service deliveryand for an outsider to rent or live in Orania must have an approval from the community because it is managed like a company. Thus, Orania still operates with Apartheid principles excluding itself from other race or ethnic or tribe not to be tainted trying to maintain the culture of the Afrikaner.

Scroll to Continue

The Establishment of Orania in South Africa

The reason for the establishment of Orania was purely cultural traditions, says Jaco Kleynhans, Orania public man, he also said there is a difference between an Afrikaans speaker and Afrikaaner. The so called cultural traditions includes celebrating people like Kruger and the great day in the Afrikaaner calendar, like December 16 is known as the “Day of Reconciliation”and in the Apartheid days it was known as the “Day of Vow” a day of commemoration ofthe Battle of Blood River, the victory in 1838 of 470 Afrikaners-Voortrekker colonists-over an army of up to 15,000 Zulu warriors.Every 16thDecember is a significant day in the lives of Oraniaians where people wear traditional clothings, says Kleynhans. Nelson Mandela tried to establish the “Rainbow Nation” to promote mutual tolerance which conquers ethnic antagonism. But, one reason that the Oranians toestablish the Orania settlementwas fear since power is not in their hands anymore so the notion was borne when Apartheid was fading away.The main options were for the Afrikaners: stay and hope for the best or emigrate. But Carel Boshoff, an Afrikaner intellectual and son-in-law ofHendrik Verwoerd, prime minister from 1958 until his assassination in 1966, initiated thethird course of Orania; making it an internal exile while about 750,000 whites preferred the second option.

The Orania settlement had hosted President Nelson Mandelain 1995 when he visited the widowed Betsie Verwoerd, wife ofthe man that suppressed him and kept him in detention and Betsie and Mandela had Afrikaner delicacy-tea and koesksisters-sweet cakes and thereafter President Jacob Zuma had also visited the area including others.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Opuene Kingsley Inowei

Related Articles