esposearch - ideal online careers

South African: Apartheid in South Africa and Other Themes

Apartheid in South Africa was a legal system of racial segregation that was implemented in between the year 1948 and 1994 by the National Party. In South Africa, racial discrimination started in the colonial times. New rules categorized residents into racial grouping (colored, black, Indian and white) and dwelling areas were separated by forced removal means. Black racial group were denied their citizenship, hence, officially being transformed into one of the ten tribally founded on self-governing or self-ruling homelands referred to as Bantustans and four of them turned into supposedly autonomous states. All political rights like voting carried out by an African were limited to the specific homelands. In addition, the government isolated medical care, education and many other public services, and offered black individuals with inferior services compared to those offered to the whites (Richmond 332). On the other hand, the British colonial rulers in the 19th century established a system of Pass Laws in the Colony of Natal and Cape Colony. Laws were enforced to limit the movement of black people and ban them from moving from one region to another without a pass that had been signed. In addition, Pass laws affirmed that black individuals were not permitted to hold bigger position in an organization than their workmates whites did. Moreover, there were unjust laws of apartheid like penalties including whippings, imprisonment and fines that left 187 individuals wounded and 69 individuals dead (Union of South Africa 2-4).

To some individuals, racism discrimination in apartheid in South Africa had honorable and logical credibility. Racial discrimination or apartheid was practiced in South Africa for over four decades. It was used as a solution to prevent the problem that had occurred in the year 1984 when a new government was established, the National Party. The victory of the party was followed by a drastic rise in the migration of the black individuals who moved into the country’s towns. This migration of the black people resulted to fear that the black individuals could take over from the few whites who were there. Therefore, racial discrimination became the immense solution to curb this immense problem. Afrikaners justified apartheid by stating that it was God ordained. They established theological apartheid justification in their churches where academics, theoreticians and others argued or discussed the issues of color desegregation. Therefore, it was clear that through religion and science that apartheid or racial discrimination was justified (Gallagher par. 7-13).

The establishment of African National Congress (ANC) began almost three centuries of apartheid. By the year 1919, the ANC organized an anti-passes campaign and in the year 1920, it supported a radical mine-employees’ strike. The congress responded militarily to fight for the rights of the black individuals. In addition, they encouraged campaigns in order to fight against the apartheid laws. ANC established new organizations like COD and SACPO. The government attempted to block them by prohibiting or banning the top most leaders and implementing new regulations to but they did not succeed because the movement had attained too munch power (Mapekuka 30).

In My Country: Movie Review

What would you do when you come face to face with the man who murdered your parents? On the other hand, to put it mildly, the man who turned you into a cripple for the rest of their life? These are some of the issues that John Boorman, through his 2005 film “In My Country”, attempts to address. This movie is a recount of the atrocities that were wrought on blacks by the white minority in South Africa during the era of apartheid (Burr 1). It covers the testimonies that were presented in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was set-up by Mandela to bring the perpetrators of the heinous acts face-to-face with their victims.

The film depicts the heart wrenching testimonies of victims of apartheid and their families. 21,800 victims presented their story in front of the commission in its various sittings around the country. A boy confronts the white policeman who murdered both of his parents in one scene of the film (Burr 2). On the victims, the testimonies remind them of a past that they would wish to put behind them. However, it also has a cathartic effect in that it brings out raw emotions and as such, the victims are able to deal with the past. To the audience, both locally and internationally, the testimonies are moving. They tell of a story that was hidden of how the whites treated blacks, committing acts of genocide. Thus, 1163 perpetrators came forward and confessed to their sins. They were all forgiven (Burr 2). They told of how they killed and maimed blacks on the pretext that they were terrorists. They were acting on their own volition or on orders given by those in power. The world was surprised by the fact that these perpetrators received one of the most lenient treatments; they were forgiven under the spirit of ubuntu.

As they cover the proceedings of the commission, the two lead characters, Anna and Langston, undergo major changes. In one scene, Whitfield shouts at Anna, “What compromises have you made!?” (Burr 4). He cannot understand how such heinous deeds can be forgiven. But perhaps Anna proves of the compromises that she had made when she comes to accept the fact that her family played a part in the heinous acts. Langston understands that forgiveness is better than punishment, and it brings healing, as opposed to punishment, which alienates victim from perpetrator.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The core justification for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is captured by Archbishop Desmond Tutu when he says that without the negotiations we would have been overwhelmed by the bloodbath that virtually everyone predicted as the predictable ending for South Africa. From this perspective, the agreement at the negotiations to grant amnesty to perpetrators of apartheid violence was a realistic choice enshrined in the interim Constitution. Amnesty, especially for apartheid forces was the cost of saving the countless lives that would have been lost had the conflict continued. Using this argument, amnesty was about the advancement of reconciliation and reconstruction. However, amnesty in South Africa, unlike many other countries, was neither extensive nor automatic. Conditions applied to the amnesty. The TRC was the vehicle for amnesty assessing applications and adjudicating on them based on criteria set down in the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act. Linking amnesty into the process was a unique development, and highly unusual for a truth commission (Goodman 172).

To receive amnesty, perpetrators of political violence had to disclose full details of every past crime for which they wanted amnesty. Amnesty had to be sought for each crime individually, and if successful, only that crime was amnestied. Simply put, provided the perpetrators told the truth and confessed their involvement in a specific act that was found to be political in nature, based on criteria in the Act, justice would be overlooked. If granted amnesty, criminal and civil liability fell away for that crime. Although amnesty did not deliver justice through the courts, it was hoped it would at least produce truth. Truth was considered vital to understanding what had happened, assisting victims to come to terms with the past, and preventing its repetition. Truth was considered a basic building block of reconciliation (Gibson 130-134).

On conducting its investigations, TRC concluded that African National Congress (ANC) and former United Democratic Front were responsible of some violence that rocked the country. ANC was also accused of killing various informers. The white right wing was found to have participated in waging violence on other parties. This resulted in exposure of numerous evils that were taking place during that time. People were punished depending on the magnitude of their crimes while others got absolved from liability. This has led to most victims reconciling.

Works cited

Burr, Ty. Melodrama Mars the Provocative “In My Country”. 2005. Web.

Gallagher, Michael. The birth and death of apartheid. BBC News. 2009.

Gibson, James. Overcoming Apartheid. Can Truth Reconcile a Divided Nation? 2004, (2), 129-155.

Mapekuka, Vulindlela. The ANC and the Socialist International. Umrabulo (African National Congress).2007. Web.

Richmond, Anthony. The color problem: a study of racial relations. Penguin Books. 1955.

Union of South Africa. Part II – Historical. Report of the Inter-departmental committee on the native pass laws. 1920.


About the author

we will assist you 24/7

Quick Contact

Keep current with the ESPOSEARCH Blog. Let’s get it written!

EspoSearch Ⓒ 2022 - All Rights Are Reserved