How Apartheid Affected People Live And How People Responded 1

How Apartheid Affected People Live And How People Responded

Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 to the early 1990s. It was a policy that divided people based on their skin color, and it had a profound impact on the lives of the people in South Africa. This article will explore how apartheid affected people's lives and how people responded to it.

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  1. History of Apartheid
  2. Impact of Apartheid on People
    1. Black South Africans
    2. White South Africans
  3. Response to Apartheid
    1. Resistance
    2. International Pressure
  4. Conclusion

History of Apartheid

Apartheid was introduced in South Africa by the National Party in 1948, and it was formally recognized as the law of the land in 1950. The policy was designed to institutionalize racial segregation, with the goal of maintaining white supremacy and preserving the economic and political power of the white minority.

Impact of Apartheid on People

Black South Africans

The impact of apartheid on black South Africans was devastating. Millions of people were forcibly removed from their homes and transported to areas designated for non-whites, known as townships. Their living conditions were poor, with overcrowded housing, inadequate sanitation, and limited access to basic services like healthcare and education.

The policy also restricted the movement of black people, and they were required to carry identity documents at all times. These documents contained details about their race, tribal affiliation, and place of birth, which had a significant impact on their ability to find employment or access services that were reserved for whites.

The policy of apartheid also meant that black people were denied the right to vote and were not allowed to participate in the political process. This resulted in a sense of powerlessness and frustration among black South Africans, who were denied the right to shape their own future.

White South Africans

While the policy of apartheid was designed to benefit white South Africans, it also had a significant impact on their lives. The government's focus on maintaining white supremacy meant that white people were incentivized to treat black people as inferior, and this created a culture of racism and discrimination that was deeply ingrained in society.

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White South Africans were also subject to strict regulations that governed their behavior, and these rules limited their freedom to associate with black people and to travel freely throughout the country.

Response to Apartheid


In response to the policy of apartheid, many people took part in acts of resistance, including protests, strikes, and acts of sabotage. These acts of resistance often led to violent clashes between police and protesters, and many people were arrested and imprisoned for their participation in anti-apartheid activities.

Some of the most significant acts of resistance include the Soweto Uprising in 1976, the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, and the Rivonia Trial of 1963–64, which resulted in the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists.

International Pressure

The policy of apartheid was widely condemned by the international community, and many countries imposed economic sanctions on South Africa in an attempt to force the government to abandon the policy. The United Nations also passed a number of resolutions condemning apartheid, and many individuals and organizations around the world spoke out against the policy.

The pressure of international isolation and economic sanctions eventually led to the collapse of the apartheid system in the early 1990s, and in 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections, marking the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new era in the country's history.


Apartheid had a profound impact on the lives of people in South Africa, particularly black South Africans, who were subjected to discrimination, forced relocation, and limited opportunities for education and employment. However, the policy also had a significant impact on white South Africans, who were subjected to strict regulations and a culture of racism and discrimination.

Despite the difficult circumstances, many people resisted apartheid through acts of protest and international pressure, leading to the eventual downfall of the policy and the establishment of a democratic South Africa. While the scars of apartheid still linger, the country has made significant progress in recent decades and is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of the human spirit.

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