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Apartheid past and present - Referat

We live in an age where almost every single person has at least once been confronted with Racism in his life. Nowadays it is less harming than it used to be but it is still heartbreaking and wrong that such a thing still exists in our society. In the following essay I want to talk about the South African Apartheid in the past and present and which marks it left from that miserable period of time.

First of all, I want to explain what Apartheid is and what it means. The Apartheid was a policy after the time period of the second world war until the late 1990ís that regulated relations between the non-white majority and the white minority in South Africa. It allowed racial segregation as well as political and economic discrimination against non-whites.

Important to mention is the difference between the racial segregation in South Africa versus the one in the United States of America which both occurred in the same time. In the United States the non-white people population was the minority and the white people population the majority however in South Africa it was reversed, the white people were the minority and the non-white people the majority.

The historians are not exactly sure when the Apartheid really started but a lot of them tend to 1857 as the early beginning because non-white people were no longer allowed to live out their Religion in the same building as white people. They reasoned that new regulation based on certain paragraphs in the old testament. That was the first incident of racial segregation because of their skin color. In 1910 the four South African provinces: Natal, Transvaal, Kapkolonie, and Orange Free State were merged together into one Union. The Union was under white peoples control and voting rights for black-, colored-, or Asian people did not exist. Also, the sexual contact in between the people with different origins was highly affected for example if you are a black man, you were not allowed to have sexual contact with a white or Asian woman, that was just simply forbidden. But of course, there were some people that stood up against all of the racial segregation for example there was the African National Congress (ANC, formed in 1912) who fought for the rights of non-whites. In 1914 the National Party was formed and stood for the white minority and against the non-white majority. The National Party wanted for example that the jobs are reserved for the white people; non-white people should only be allowed to perform unskilled labor such as working in a mine and on farms for example and the introduction of pass laws. Additionally, the Country had a majority of Nationalists supporter/voter since non-whites were not eligible voters thatís why the National Party which is a party of white people won the election at the parliamentary election after the second world war in 1948. This is when the apartheid politic began to get really intense. The Government tried to enforce the Apartheid with everything they are able with for example: non-white people were separated from the white people, they had to sit in the back of the Bus and when the bus is full they have to give their seat to a white person if he or she claims it.

There were separated restrooms, benches, taxis, public facilities, different check outs in stores and much more. The black people lived in Homelands that were very overcrowded, rural and just a few job opportunities which lead to poverty. Their wages were extremely low and they were not allowed to strike because it was illegal for them. The companies like the gold mining industries abused them since the blacks were such a cheap work force. In 1950 was the Population Registration Act which classified all South Africans either as Whites, Blacks, Colored, or Asians and from then on, the citizens have gotten an ID where it says which race they are and they always had to have it with them. In addition of the Population Registration act was the Group Areas Act which established racial segregation areas by forcing the non-white people to move out of their homes so that white people can take their land this led to the overcrowded poor homelands and if any non-white person was seen by the police in a white neighborhood he or she got arrested. Then there was the Bantu Education Act of 1953 which allowed the South African government to pull funding from non-white schools. That shows again how much control the government had over them and they basically are able to do whatever they want to support the whites without any consideration for the other human beings. In the early 1950ís many South Africans fled from the Apartheid regime to London. Vella Pilay and Tennyson Makiwane, two South Africans that lived in London, introduced the idea of boycott in the UK. The idea was the Boycott of South African products. In the 1950ís 30% imports from the UK and 28% exports from South Africa to the UK, this was an important trade relation, especially for South Africa. The Boycott idea was supported by Newspapers, Artist, Universities and the labour party. With the march to Trafalgar Square with 15.000 people, the boycott committee was calling for the boycott and try to convince conservative politicians and churches, which did not support the Boycott idea. Yet there were not many aggressive protesters or organizations who fought for their rights but that changed after the massacre in Sharpeville 1960 were thousands of black people went to the police station without a pass to get arrested as a sign of protest against the new pass-law. Even though it was a peaceful demonstration 69 unarmed black protesters were killed and 186 wounded by the police. The consequence was that the Government banned the ANC and the PAC but nevertheless now the opposer of Apartheid became more violent even Nelson Mandela who got arrested in 1962 and spent 27 years in a prison located nearby Cape Town because he was a part of terrorist acts against government officialís apartheid supporter with the group called Umkhonto weSizwe (MK). Regardless to what happened to Nelson Mandela, the amount of anti-apartheid supporter was increasing especially for the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). But the massacre of Sharpeville awakened worldwide resurrection and the boycott campaign became international and anti-apartheid movement began to rise even more in popularity. Beside of the call for economic sanctions there was a call for a regime change. South Africa was excluded from several sport events and 1974 from the United Nations (UN). Stephen Biko was one of the BCM leaders and
an Anti-Apartheid-Activist who studied the law in 1973 but in 1977 he was beaten to death. There was also a great influence by the European countries because they applied sanctions against South Africa which prohibited the Import of South African goods like gold, iron, and steel. That increased the pressure on the government because the economy suffered even more as before by the sanctions. Protests for the release of Nelson Mandela, end of Apartheid and economic sanctions were spread international as well. Nothing of all that changed until the resigning of the State President Pieter Willem Botha in 1989 and Frederik Willem de Klerk took over his place. He is absolutely against Apartheid so he legalizes the ANC again and freed Nelson Mandela and many other political activists from jail.
Willem de Klerk set up new and first democratic elections and by 1994 every person regardless to their skin color or origin is allowed to vote. In this election Nelson Mandela was elected as the new State President of South Africa who abolished the Apartheid right after.

The time after Apartheid:
Now I am going to talk about the Apartheid in the present, does it still exist or has anything changed since it was abolished 26 years ago? More than a third of the population still suffers under poverty. Most of them are non-white people and still live in Townships. The poor economic environment and poverty is the reason why South Africa today has the third highest crime rate in the world with a Crime Index from 77.02, in comparison Germany has a Crime Index from 34,6 thatís more than twice as much. The schools in the Townships are still in very bad condition. In the meantime, the ANC receives no longer that much approval than before. Broken promises and the president Jacob Zuma (2009-2017) who did not support the party were some of the reasons for the mistrust in the party. Since 1994 South Africa tries to make it possible for more children to get education, by spending 20% of the government budget on education. But the education system suffers from a lack of equipment and trained teachers. Unfortunately, the children that grew up during the time of Apartheid are now adults with no education which mean they have either bad or no job at all, that gives their offspring almost no opportunity to be able to succeed in life and that cycle goes on and on in further generations. The Black population still lives in houses made out of shacks when in the meanwhile most of the white neighborhood have nice looking suburban houses with gates and cars. Most of the colored population lives in small homes with at least running water which is a big difference by the shacks from the blacks. The inequality between all those different origin groups are still very high which a lot of studies show, even the Cable News Network (CNN) declared South Africa in May 2019 as the most unequal country in the world. The richest 10% of the population which are mainly white people hold 71% of the total wealth when in the meanwhile the poorest 60% only own 7% that shows how big the gap between rich and poor is but do not forget that there is an 80.2% Black African, 8.8% Colored, 8.4% White, and a 2.5% Indian/Asian population. This uneven distribution of wealth kind of explains the high crime rate I have mentioned earlier because the higher the diversity is, the higher the crime rate usually is. But there are also a few positive things that occurred over the years for example the minimum wage of 20.00 ZAR which is equal to 01,02Ä was established helped a lot of non-white citizens because most of them have gotten way less than that. Also, there are a few neighborhoods where blacks and whites can live peacefully together but thatís unfortunately not everywhere like for example in Cape Town where are some neighborhoods from the rich white people are right next to the shacks from by black people where the white people putting up signs for the black people in their language to be careful because there are dogs that protect the property.

Nelson Mandela said: ďWhen a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.Ē. I think he perfectly describes and well grounds his as well as the actions from the Anti-Apartheid movement, they had no chance to overcome their situation by simply just doing what the government says. They were treated disrespectful, unfairly and just not how humans should treat others we are all the same regardless to our skin color or origin everybody should have the same opportunities to succeed and to live the life they want to live. That is why it is in my opinion not contemptuous how Mandela tried to enforce their freedom because he had no choice to do it the right or legal way, everything was regulated and ruled against the non-white population and he sacrificed himself for stepping up for the black community 27 years in jail to free the country of South Africa from the dreadful Apartheid. But of course, it was not just all his merit in the fight against Apartheid many other major activists like Steven Biko, Govan Mbeki or Walter Sisulu for example and of course the whole non-white citizens that went to the streets, formed partyís and organizations who fought for their rights had a great impact on the ending as well.

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