History of South Africa: Apartheid timeline
Apartheid was the period in South Africa between 1948 and 1994, during which the government of the day implemented oppressive laws to discriminate against black people. The National Party, which ruled Africa, made the repressive laws. The government segregated every aspect of life including education, medical care and even social places like beaches. A key figure in the apartheid timeline was Nelson Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prizewinner. In fact, the social policy remained in effect until Mandela became the first black President of South Africa, after serving a jail term of 27 years.
While apartheid officially began in the 20th century, South Africa had experienced massive inequality during the colonial times even though blacks outnumbered whites by far. The Boers were among the first Afrikaners to settle in the country in the 1600s, displacing the natives. A hundred years later, the British arrived and used the country as a protection base, integrating it into the British Empire.
A summary of the apartheid timeline 1948-1994
1948 – Apartheid begins. Segregation officially started in May 1948 after a general election. In the run up to the elections, the National Party promised to severely restrict the rights of blacks through oppressive laws if it won the election. It went ahead to beat the United Party.
1952 – ANC defiance campaign starts. In June 1952, the African National Congress launched a campaign to resist the social policy. Volunteers started by defying apartheid laws, which they considered wrong. They started sitting on benches marked for white people and being in the streets past curfew hours for blacks.
1953 – Bantu Education Act. The government adopted a law separating the education system for blacks and whites.
1956 – Government arrests Nelson Mandela. This is one of the most important events in the apartheid timeline. In December of that year, the government jailed Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist together with other people for resisting segregation. He was charged with treason but was found guilty after four years of trial.
1959 – Separate homelands for blacks. The government passed laws, creating separate homelands for Bantustans. The aim of this was to prevent blacks from being South African citizens.
1960- The Sharpeville Massacre. On March 21, 1960, police killed 69 black protesters after resting a law requiring them to carry passbooks, which contained personal details like the name, date of birth and photographs.
South Africa’s Apartheid in the 60s
1961 – Independence. South Africa exited the Commonwealth, becoming an independent republic. During this time, mining, industrial and financial companies boost the economy, extending into the 70s.
1962 – Mandela arrested for treason. The government arrested Mandela on August 5, 1962. Mandela was the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, a member of the ANC. He is handed a life sentence for participating in bombing government targets. This was a turning point in the apartheid timeline, as agitation for equality continued even with intensified repression.
1965 – Rhodesia secedes from Great Britain. On November 11, 1965, Prime Minister Ian Smith declared the independence of Rhodesia allowing whites to take over government. Britain was willing to grant the independence only if the government shared power with blacks.
Apartheid timeline after UN expulsion
1974 – United Nations expels South Africa. In November 1974, the UN kicked out South Africa until 1994, when it was welcomed back following the end of the social policy.
1976 – Soweto massacre. On June 16, 1976, police killed more than 600 students in Soweto Massacre, agitating for an improved education system for blacks.
1977 – Steve Bilko dies. Police arrested Steve Bilko, one of the ringleaders of the Soweto protest on August 18, 1977 and died while in police cells on September 12 after suffering severe brain damage caused by police beatings.
1990 – End of ban on ANC. On February 2, 1990, President Frederik Willem de Klerk lifted a ban on ANC, winning the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for their fight against apartheid in 1993.
February 11, 1990 – Government releases Mandela. The National Party frees Mandela after 27 years in prison and says there was more yet to be done.
May 10, 1994 – Nelson Mandela elected first black president, marking the end of apartheid timeline in South Africa.
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