Constructing The Apartheid System

Apartheid rested on several bases. The most important were the restriction of all power to whites, racial classification and racial sex laws, group areas for each racial community, segregated schools and universities, the elimination of integrated public facilities and sport, protection for whites in the labour market, a system of influx control that stemmed the movement of blacks to the cities, and designated ‘homelands’ for blacks as the basis for preventing them from demanding rights in the common area.

In 1948 Afrikaner voters outnumbered English voters by only 135 000, and while virtually no English-speakers voted for the National Party in its first fifteen years of power, more than 20% of the Afrikaners had cast their vote for the United Party in the 1943 election. It was generally accepted that the large majority of the approximately 46 000 coloured voters supported the UP. With its slender majority of five, the NP insisted that these voters be removed from the voters’ roll because they held the balance of power in several constituencies. Apartheid as a policy was directed at uniting all Afrikaners behind a policy that appealed to both racists and reformers and addressed the interests of all the constituencies in the Afrikaner people. It promised undiluted white supremacy and firm control over black labour.

Political apartheid

Communal apartheid

Group areas

Apartheid education

Labour and influx controls

Intervention and resistance

The NP’s homeland obsession

Verwoerd’s shift in policy

Opposition politics

An African explains apartheid

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