Historical Perspective On Africas Transition Away From Apartheid History Essay

This research survey was conducted during the old ages of South Africa ‘s passage off from apartheid and White minority domination towards a more inclusive democratic hereafter, with the chance of cardinal alteration steadfastly on the docket. [ Apartheid was an political orientation of separate development defined and enforced by a assortment of Acts from 1948 onwards. The aim was entire segregation between White persons and ‘others ‘ ( HSRC, 1985:19 ) ] .

The yesteryear can non be ignored when traveling into the hereafter. The grounds for this survey are steadfastly rooted in South Africa ‘s apartheid history and it is hence of import to analyze the events that have contributed to the systematic marginalization of the bulk of South Africans from the mainstream of economic activity.

The grounds are compactly summarised in the Department of Trade and Industry ‘s scheme papers ( 2003 ) on Economic Transformation and Black Economic Authorization:

“ Apartheid consistently and purposefully restricted the bulk of South Africans from meaningful engagement in the economic system. The assets of 1000000s of people were straight and indirectly destroyed and entree to accomplishments and self-employment was racially restricted. The accretion procedure under Apartheid confined the creative activity of wealth to a racial minority and imposed underdevelopment on black communities. The consequence is an economic construction that today, in kernel, still excludes the huge bulk of South Africans. It is important to understand the magnitude of what took topographic point in our yesteryear in order to understand why we need to move together as a state to convey about economic transmutation in the involvement of all ” .

This chapter is a contemplation on South Africa ‘s apartheid history and is documented to supply an penetration into the present state of affairs. It is, hence, non intended to be an academic history of the lives of those who have lived under racially oppressive and economic and socially exploitatory conditions.

At the terminal of the chapter an autobiographical contemplation is included to help the reader in understanding my political position and consciousness of the demand for alteration, which provided the motive to accept the challenge of ‘growing ‘ African directors.


Under a new National Party ( N.P. ) leader, F.W. de Klerk, there was a crisp and decisive alteration of policy way for the South African authorities in February 1990. This led to the unbanning of political groups and the debut of a extremist policy alteration towards full political rights for all South Africans finally ensuing in Black bulk regulation, in a Government of National Unity dominated by the African National Congress ( ANC ) in 1994. At the clip of composing this thesis ( 2009 ) , the ANC is now in its 4th term as the governing party.

In my position, this period of passage to a more democratic society was one of the most singular in South African history. It was a period where political orientations and steadfastly entrenched behaviors were brought into in to the unfastened and questioned. It was besides the period in which unprecedented political alteration took topographic point.

It was besides a period characterised by attempts to develop new educational policies, important failures to truly transform the South African instruction system, and a rough economic state of affairs when countenances were lifted and South Africa rejoined the extremely competitory planetary economic system.


Colonialism and apartheid resulted in decennaries of institutionalized inequalities of power and chance in South Africa and left a bequest of unacceptable wealth, income and skill disparities that required pressing attending. The backlog in instruction, wellness, lodging and other societal services was big and the new ANC authorities, despite its good purposes, was non in a place to run into outlooks. The forecast of any important betterment in the batch of deprived people seemed hapless. Today, although there has been important advancement, there are still immense disparities and a figure of societal jobs, peculiarly poorness and unemployment, which need to be addressed.

Contrary to popular belief, Afrikaner patriots did non develop racial segregation when they came to power in 1948. They inherited a bequest of race Torahs developed by consecutive colonial authoritiess, which they enhanced, formalised and named apartheid ( Joyce, 1990 ) .

Apartheid policies were adopted chiefly for ideological grounds, to forestall Whites, and peculiarly Afrikanders, from being submerged by Blacks and losing their cultural individuality. For the intent of this survey, Blacks will be taken to intend all colored sectors of the population, i.e. Africans, Indians and Coloureds ( people of assorted beginning ) .

Racial favoritism was a defining characteristic of the apartheid order and Blacks were progressively restricted and regulated geographically, politically, socially, educationally and economically through a scope of statutory commissariats aimed at stoping all interaction between racial groups except on a superficial degree in the workplace.

These Acts, added to an already impressive organic structure of race Torahs, farther entrenched the dominant and privileged place of the White community and denied the bulk of the population political rights, every bit good as equal societal, educational and occupational rights.


Amongst the overplus of segregationist statute law were the followers:

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act ( No 55 of 1949 ) and the Immorality Amendment Act ( No 21 of 1950, Section 16 ) forbade matrimony and adulterous sexual intercourse between White persons and Blacks, Asiatics and Coloureds.

The Population Registration Act ( No 30 of 1950 ) made proviso for a cardinal population registry in which all people were classified harmonizing to race.

The Group Areas Act ( No 41 of 1950 ) augmented the assorted Torahs supplying for racially segregated countries. It provided for countries to be proclaimed as belonging to a peculiar racial group, in which no other group could populate, trade or ain land. Any members of other groups populating in announced countries were relocated.

This Act was supplemented by the Natives Resettlement Act ( No 19 of 1954 ) which was intended to extinguish ‘Black musca volitanss ‘ from White countries.

The 1950 Suppression of Communism Act declared the Communist Party an improper administration efficaciously destructing the Black trade brotherhood motion. This was followed by the 1953 Natives Settlement of Disputes Act that banned Blacks from registered trade brotherhoods.

The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act ( No 49 of 1953 ) was the primary beginning of ‘petty apartheid ‘ which enforced segregation of all public comfortss from lifts, lavatories and Parkss to hotels, eating houses and film.

The Bantu Education Act ( No 47 of 1953 ) allowed for unintegrated instruction and pegged outgo on Black instruction to the degree of Black revenue enhancements. Prior to this there was virtually no authorities instruction for Blacks, but a really effectual system of mission schools existed. [ The 1950 Population Registration Act classified people as White, Coloured or Native – subsequently called Bantu. The word Bantu literally means people. ( Ormond, 1985:20 ) ]

The 1979 Education and Training Act replaced this Act. Though less suppressive of non-formal instruction for Blacks, it still required that all educational Centres offering ‘formal ‘ direction to Blacks be registered with the Department of Education and Training.

In 1959, the Extension of the University Act was passed to put up separate ‘Tribal Colleges ‘ for Black university pupils.

Existing Torahs advancing occupation reserve were supplemented by the Native Labour Act ( No 48 of 1953 ) and the Industrial Conciliation Act ( No 28 of 1956 ) .


Black representation was abolished in the early portion of the National Party ‘s reign and was replaced by local boards.

The Asiatic Amendment Act ( No 47 of 1948 ) abolished Indian representation as Indians were regarded as visitants who should return place. In 1964, this policy was reviewed and the South African Indian Council was formed.

The Separate Representation of Voters Act ( No 46 of 1951 ) removed so called Cape Coloureds from the White electors roll.

The Bantu Authorities Act ( No 68 of 1951 ) abolished the Native Representative Council of 1936. The publicity of Bantu Self Government Act ( No 46 of 1959 ) abolished Black representation and laid down guidelines for authorities systems in the fatherlands. Fatherlands, normally called Bantustans, were authorities designated countries for African colony to which more than 70 % of the South African population was assigned on the footing of cultural association.

The Act was promulgated to coerce the state ‘s chief Black groups into separate countries and separate development, leting labour demands to order which Blacks could go on to shack in the Union of South Africa ( Joyce, 1990:16 ) . In the eyes of the Government, the fatherlands would come on to independent provinces, which would reenforce the impression that Africans were ‘temporary sojourners ‘ in South Africa.

The National Party easy became cognizant that White persons could non govern the state entirely and in 1983 it acknowledged this by replacing their exclusively White parliament with a Tricameral parliament into which Indian and Colored people were incorporated as junior spouses. In 1985, it declared that the African bulk could no longer be excluded from Cardinal Government, but it besides sought to accomplish African incorporation on its ain footings.


Until 1953, the instruction of the Black population was undertaken by assorted mission societies and provincial instruction sections. Following the study of the Eiselen Commission of 1949-1951, the Bantu Education Act ( No 47 of 1953 ) was one of the many retrograde stairss introduced during the National Party ‘s apartheid epoch. The Act was introduced by the so curate of Native Affairs, Dr H.F. Verwoed, who subsequently became Prime Minister. This Act placed instruction for Blacks under the control of the Cardinal Government in the pretense of the Department of Bantu Education and brought about the closing of about all mission schools and dark schools, thereby intrenching the system of apartheid instruction. ( Christie, 1986:55 )

When go throughing the Bill, Dr Verwoed posed the undermentioned inquiry: “ What is the usage of learning a Bantu kid mathematics when it can non utilize it in pattern? ” The object of the Bill was to “ … learn our kids that Africans are inferior to Europeans ” ( Mandela, 1965:26 ) , with the ultimate end being to commit racism and “ … to bring forth a semi-literate industrial force to run into the demands of an spread outing economic system ” ( Nkomo, 1981:27 ) .

The Black instruction system was administered both individually and otherwise to the White instruction system and was inferior in all facets, for illustration, lower instructor makings, higher denseness schoolrooms and irrelevant course of study ( African National Congress, 1995:4 ) . This separation besides prevented people of different races from larning to understand one another ‘s linguistic communication, imposts, hopes and frights.

As Bernstein and Young, amongst others, have provokingly maintained, the structuring of cognition and symbol in our educational establishments is closely related to the rules of societal and cultural control in a society. Apple asserts that schools ‘process ‘ both cognition and people:

“ In kernel, the formal and informal cognition is used as a complex filter to procedure people, frequently by category and at the same clip, different temperaments and values are taught to different school populations… In consequence, schools latently recreate cultural and economic disparities ” ( 1979:33 ) .

Education was surely used as a political tool in South Africa to prolong disparities. Most White kids had compulsory schooling and went to vicinity schools where merely about everything was paid for by the State.

Black kids were non as fortunate. Unequal authorities outgo – the authorities was passing 18 times more on a White pupil than on a Black pupil in 1968 ( Kane-Berman, 1990:8 ) – meant that Black parents had to pay school fees and purchase exercising and text books out of, on norm, far smaller incomes than White persons.

Education was unaffordable for the bulk of Blacks, schooling was non mandatory and it is hence non surprising that Black males spent an norm of 4,8 old ages at school in 1985, up from 1,9 old ages in 1960, but still good below the 11,3 old ages for White pupils.

Harmonizing to UNISA ‘s Bureau of Market Research ( BMR ) , in 1991 there were 14 million Blacks of school traveling age ( 6 to 20 old ages old ) in South Africa, i.e. 75 per centum of the school traveling population, of which 7,3 million were at school. The staying 6,7 million had either dropped out or had ne’er attended school at all ( Business Day, 8 January 1991 ) .

In add-on 60 per centum of South Africa ‘s Black grownup population could be classified as nonreader and innumerate. Of every 10000 Black school entrants, merely 113 passed their concluding school go forthing tests, of those a mere 27 per centum entered university and merely 1 per centum with freedoms in mathematics or scientific discipline ( Business Day, 8 January 1991 ) .

All this resulted in a Black instruction and accomplishments crisis of scaring proportions as illustrated in Table 2 below.

Table 2

Claimed degrees of instruction among African grownups aged 16 and over ( as % )


No school


Some primary


Primary completed


Some high


High completed


Some station matric


Beginning: South African Institute of Race Relations, Race Relations Survey, 1992

Despite some belated attempts by Government to better Bantu instruction with excess outgo, it finally collapsed under the weight of its ain inefficiency. Black schools in general and African schools in peculiar, became cardinal sites of opposition to the oppressive societal and economic policies of the National Party authorities.

The Department of Education and Training lost control and credibleness with a ensuing crisis of authorization and a decomposition of the acquisition environment. These factors led to the pupil rebellions in 1976 and the outgrowth of the so called ‘lost coevals ‘ of Black young person. The words ‘Black instruction ‘ and ‘crisis ‘ became inextricably linked.

From 1976, Black pupils boycotted categories ; clashed with the South African constabulary and South African Defence Force ; burned down schools and began determining township political relations. By 1986, pupil, young person and community constructions had begun to develop a construct of “ Peopless Education for Peoples Power ” thereby welding the battle in the schools to an overall scheme of “ Liberation before Education ” .

Many unluckily did non mind Sonn ‘s warning that:

“ There will be no freedom in the new SA for the uneducated and the unskilled, and no grade of protestation that instruction was sacrificed for a bigger cause will better the sense of holding been sidelined and left to pine away in poorness ” . ( Sonn, 1993:4 )

Bantu instruction, one of the most of import generators of poorness, was Verwoed ‘s dream – today it has become our incubus. It is improbable that the establishments of formal instruction ( schools, colleges and universities ) will be capable of reacting efficaciously, either to the graduated table or to the nature of the job in the short term. Because of the insufficiencies of past instruction and the break of schooling since 1976, there is now a immense demand for effectual grownup instruction.

In 2006, Moleke noted that:

“ There are still concerns about the quality of instruction received by most black South Africans, which is reflected in the little proportion of those go throughing the senior certification with indorsement, the little Numberss of pupils that pass mathematics and scientific discipline at secondary-school degree, and the low throughput rates of inkinesss at third degree, peculiarly in the scientific discipline, technology and technology-related Fieldss ” .


Much of the overtly political statute law enacted between 1948 and 1960 was directed at commanding Black labor. Black mobility was restricted by base on balls Torahs, they could merely populate and work in designated White countries if they had paperss enabling them to be at that place, and by the creative activity of Bantustans ( subsequently called fatherlands ) . Until good into the 1970 ‘s it was authorities policy to pretermit or even deject development for Blacks in the industrialized common country of the state in the hope of promoting them to place with the separate fatherlands set aside for them.

The Group Areas Act resulted in Blacks populating long distances from workplaces, stores and installations and created countries where multitudes of people are locked into rural slums. The Migrant Labour System disempowered both the workers and their households and contributed to the break of household life and societal coherence.


During this period a figure of labour Torahs were introduced curtailing Blacks to humble occupations, “ … chiefly to still Afrikaner ‘s frights of Black competition in the unskilled and semi-skilled labor markets ” ( Lipton, 1986:36 ) .

In the country of employment the most revealing legislative steps designed to afford racial privilege were those puting the footing for the policy of occupation reserve, viz. :

The unsuitably named ‘Civilised Labour Policy ‘ of the treaty authorities ( National and Labour Parties ) during the 1920 ‘s was specifically designed to elate hapless White persons at the disbursal of the Black worker. Civilised labor was defined as ‘all work done by people whose criterion of life conforms to the criterion of life by and large recognised as decent from a White individual ‘s point of position ‘ .

S77 of the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1924 which excluded Blacks from Industrial Council statute law. This was repealed by Act 94 of 1979.

The Mines and Works Amendment Act of 1926 which tightened occupation reserve on the footing of coloring material. This was repealed by Act 38 of 1987.

The Apprenticeship Act ( No 37 of 1946 ) ensured that criterions required for credence into an apprenticeship were such that no Black individual could measure up.

By the terminal of the 1960 ‘s an glut of unskilled ‘illegal ‘ labor existed side by side with a deficit of skilled labor in the metropoliss. Following the studies of the Wiehahn and Riekert Commissions in 1979, which investigated industrial dealingss and labor demands severally, occupation reserve was scrapped.

Cheap labor policies and employment segregation concentrated accomplishments in White custodies. Although legislated elements of racial favoritism have been removed many South African workplaces are still characterised by crisp inequalities of power, wealth and accomplishment along racial lines.

In the 1960 ‘s Bantu Education maintained Africans in an inferior societal place and reproduced them as ultra-cheap, unskilled manual labor. Economic growing was high and labour markets were easy able to absorb black school departers into low class occupations. However, as the decennary turned, Bantu Education could non provide industry with the trained operators, skilled workers and white neckband employees that were progressively needed.

Since the early 1970 ‘s, regular terror over labour force reorganization, technological version and the pressing formation of skilled black operators, propelled both the State and concern to look to vocational preparation.

More than a decennary after the remotion of occupation reserve Torahs there was still a really slow entry of Blacks into direction places. Although this can be partly attributed to the jobs of societal mobility and an inferior instruction as outlined above, it is rarely acknowledged that the attitudes and outlooks of employers and directors may hold contributed to the job. Harmonizing to Day ( 1991:95 ) :

“ The paradox is clear: the success of direction development of presently excluded groups depends on the group, who for the most portion, still believe that they are more capable because they are white and male ” .

A figure of inter-related Torahs aimed at accomplishing societal upliftment and transmutation in the workplace have been introduced since 1995, notably the SAQA Act ( No 58 of 1995 ) ; Basic Conditions of Employment Act ( No 75 of 1997 ) ; Employment Equity Act ( No 55 of 1998 ) ; Skills Development Act ( No 97 of 1998 ) ; Skills Development Levies Act ( No 9 of 1999 ) ; Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act ( No 4 of 2000 ) ; and Broad-based Economic Empowerment Act ( No 53 of 2003 ) .

Despite this statute law, harmonizing to Moleke ( 2006 ) :

“ The hapless quality of instruction accessed by the bulk of the population undermines all attempts to undo the unfairnesss of the past. Many new black workers still lack the instruction to take advantage of the increasing employment chances for skilled labor. At the same clip, demand for unskilled labor is worsening, go forthing these new entrants with fewer occupation chances ” .


Socio-economic factors are still a cause for grave concern. Unacceptable wealth, income and skill disparities compound the jobs of poorness, lifting unemployment, rapid urbanization and a deficiency of lodging. This has led to the creative activity of urban ghettos with 1000000s of black South Africans life in chunky colonies, backyard hovels and a scope of stopgap shelters in and around the towns and metropoliss.

Autobiographical REFLECTIONS

The foundations for South Africa ‘s socio-economic and political sufferings were laid long before my clip and turning up as a privileged white South African I was unaware of the rough worlds of life and in peculiar the adversities and unfairnesss that were endured by people relegated to the position of ‘second category citizens ‘ by an apartheid political orientation.

I attended an ‘elite ‘ all misss private school where the lone clip that the issue was alluded to was when we contributed to the charity box for “ black babes ” every Friday. Politicss and power battles were ne’er discussed and even the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, when 69 people were killed and 100s of others injured while protesting against base on balls Torahs on our doorsill, ensuing in the announcement of a province of exigency was hushed up at school and at place so as “ non to upset us ” . In fact, the lone existent hostility I was cognizant of was that between English and Afrikaans talking white South Africans.

The Rivonia Treason Trial in 1963 and subsequent imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and the other co-accused Umkhonto weSizwe cells in 1964 had small impact on my life at the clip other than making the impression of ‘Swart Gevaar ‘ ( literally translated as Black danger ) , a propaganda motto introduced by the so governing party. It was merely old ages subsequently, on reading Mandela ‘s statement from the dock, that I realised that all they were contending for was self-respect, nice supports, and equal rights.

“ Africans want to be paid a life pay. Africans want to execute work which they are capable of… Africans want to be allowed to populate where they obtain work, and non be endorsed out of an country because they were non born at that place. Africans want to be allowed to ain land in topographic points where they work… Africans want to be portion of the general population and non confined to populating in their ain ghettoes. African work forces want to hold their married womans and kids with them where they work… ” ( Mandela, 1964 )

I became more politically cognizant during my undergraduate old ages at the beginning of the 1970 ‘s, chiefly due to the multiracial political activity of the broad National Union of South African Students ( NUSAS ) on campus, but remained uninvolved and, for the most portion, uninformed as my daily life remained unaffected.

My first existent reaction to apartheid and Government policies was in 1976. I was working in the Radiology section at Baragwaneth infirmary in Soweto on the fatal twenty-four hours of the pupil rebellion, where they were protesting against the insisting by the educational governments that mathematics and societal scientific disciplines be taught in Afrikaans. It was so that I realised that we were indoctrinated, being treated as imbeciles and in fact being lied to. I was detecting and handling the hideous consequences of police ferociousness and hearing to the studies on the hand-held wireless of the police officer sent to protect me, while at the same clip listening to Government censored wireless broadcasts that bore no resemblance to the existent state of affairs.

I left South Africa the undermentioned twelvemonth, shortly after Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko ‘s ill-timed decease, angry and disillusioned at being powerless to consequence any existent alteration in the lives of an laden bulk. My political instruction began in earnest when I befriended a group of ANC militants and political expatriates populating in London and on my return place two old ages subsequently I became more involved in resistance political relations and more determined to be involved in the procedure of alteration.

In 1990 I enrolled in the MBA programme at Wits Business School where for the first clip I was exposed to a ‘normal ‘ multiracial educational scene. I was fortunate to be in a mob with two black gentlemen, now leaders of big concern corporations in South Africa, who taught me that endowment and potency, although it may be hibernating due to fortunes, is ever there and can be developed.

This belief in human potency and my choler and defeat at the inhumane unfairnesss of the apartheid system positioned me to readily accept the chance to do a difference in the lives of the four black adult females who were non every bit fortunate as I was.

Emerging from my contemplations on our history was a strong feeling that power, maltreatment and imposed values had contributed to societal and political unfairness and a deficiency of equality and that in the wake of apartheid all South Africans, but in peculiar concern leaders, had a function to play in conveying about positive alteration.

“ The specific jobs of urbanization, mass unemployment, low instruction base, high population growing and societal struggle will all make a set of challenges that will impact strongly on concern ” . ( Binedell, 1998: 8 ) .


Regardless of the causes of socio-economic inequality, the terminal consequence was unacceptable. The image that emerged was that a black individual was less likely to be in employment and less likely to keep a managerial, proficient or professional place than a white individual. This occupational order reflected the disadvantage experienced by black people more widely in society.

It is now by and large acknowledged that particular attending should be paid to the development and promotion of those people deprived of resources, picks and power by past discriminatory Torahs and patterns.