History Essay: What was the nature of the Apartheid State?
The following piece of work will examine Apartheid which was a policy followed by the Afrikaner “National Party” between 1948 and 1994. Apartheid was invoked in 1948 when the National Party got into power. Apartheid is derived for the Afrikaans word and its direct translation is ‘apartness’. This was the racial segregation of Blacks and Whites. This was also when Black South African life’s started taking a downturn.
Racism towards the Blacks had already been an issue that was fairly common amongst the Boers and Afrikaners even before 1948. The Afrikaners already had a superiority complex towards Blacks but as the apartheid starting taking place, it increased. The Afrikaners were given two choices, apartheid or integration. ‘ The choice before us is one of these two courses: either integration, which would in the long run amount to national suicide on the part of the whites; or ‘apartheid ‘, which claims to preserve the identity and safeguard the future of every race.’ The White Afrikaners were economically uncertain; the worried about things such as work, towns and money. The Blacks were already taking over the skilled jobs and congregating around towns. This concerned the White Afrikaners greatly. The United Party who offered integration would keep things going this way but the National Party who offered apartheid wanted to terminate these two trends. At this point, apartheid seemed like a better choice because it would mean Whites getting the best of everything hence, the National Party won and gained power.
When apartheid first started, it was not very established. New ideas were slowly implemented to segregate Blacks and Whites but first, they needed to identify the races of the people. In 1950, the Populations Registration Act was introduced. This was to help the government differentiate between the races: Blacks, Whites and Coloureds. Their means by which to find out was sticking a pencil through the person’s hair and if it were to stay the person was black and if it did not, the person was coloured. Another way by which they determined a person’s race was by looking behind their ears. This was very ineffective as there were too many people to classify. It was inaccurate, too. ‘In one case a man was classified as White, his brother as Coloured.’ This shows the ineffectiveness of the government to segregate the races.