Separazio-un Still Surrounds Africa

Apartheid is discrimination on the basis of one’s skin colour. The term was used in Africa to enforce the separation of South Africa’s white population from the black one. There the term was commonly known as Serparazio-un, meaning separation.

It started off in the colonization of South Africa during the seventeenth century by Dutch settlers. White settlers from Holland invaded South Africa in 1652 and began to tyrannize the South African Kingdoms. In the 1860s, England sent a large army outfitted with rifles, cavalrymen and cannons to seize control of South Africa. Total racial control materialized in every facet of life for the blacks, including the sanctioning of “white only” jobs and the prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites. Although apartheid is only a few generations old, it is nonetheless one of the most outstanding violations of human freedom that history has experienced.

This bigoted system was carried out through political, economic and social institutions and continued through the early 1990s with sanctioning of many apartheid laws in the country. Under these racist laws, South Africa became the first ever country to officially legalize racism, thereby allowing discrimination on the basis of skin color by the whites against blacks.

Some of the most unpopular apartheid laws were Population Registration Act 1950, Bantu Authorities Act 1951, and Criminal law amendment Act 1953. There weren’t any laws formulated regarding the safety of the public, which triggered off the sentiments of the people. This system of apartheid came as cruelty which had adverse effects on the citizens of South Africa. In fact, it had put loads of restrictions on the people of Africa which dealt with issues of land, jobs, housing, living areas, personal relationships, constitutional rights and general rights. Blacks who rejected the restrictions risked imprisonment and/or death. The worst was when it even intervened in the personal lives of the people. All the more, the couples had to take permission before they could live together which could not have been tolerated easily. All this led to a fire amongst the people, which ultimately led to a mass rebellion headed by many great leaders, one of which everyone knows is Nelson Mandela.

Simultaneously, the government became aware of the worsening of the prevailing situation which led to tightening of security. With this, the Security Police had killed more than 100 people in political confinement. Tens of thousands were imprisoned, many without trials or access to lawyers, relatives, or friends. Thousands more died in political protests, many gunned down by the police or military. Statute laws permitted the South African government to intern any citizen to a remote region of the country. This callous banishment meant blacks were forbidden by state mandate to travel, write, or speak publicly, just to name a few sanctions. They had no power to appeal against these sanctions. The situation became worse and led to the raising of voices against such cruelty and domination. Here, Nelson Mandela played a tremendous role. He joined the African National Congress in 1942. He formed the ANC youth league and his neglect to concede anti-apartheid position became the symbol of black resistance. He also became the president of South Africa in 1994. Some other leaders that played an important role were Desmond Tutu, Roy Wilkins & Stephen Biko. There struggle followed the path of non-violence i.e. it took the form of peaceful protests. It was in the 1960s that an armed struggle began and finally led to the breakdown of the system of apartheid and led to elections in South Africa in 1994.

All this happened as a result of the early Apartheid movement. Along with the contribution of Nelson Mandela and then president Mr. Klerk, South Africans were able to curb apartheid in their country. But today, the condition is even worse. Today apartheid surrounds not only Africa, but most of the Asian countries. Even in India, Indians do not allow blacks into clubs. Or for example, the Indian political parties have always been fighting over the issue that Sonia Gandhi is from Italy and she shouldn’t be holding any political position in India. This itself proves that somewhere, we have been the victims as well as the criminals of the same crime. Forget about creating hype about Shilpa Shetty’s Big Boss drama. The truth lies in our very own country!

Today, majority of Africa’s population comprises of whites instead of the blacks who originally belonged to this land. All this constitutes the Global Apartheid which has trickled down to other countries and is a matter of great concern today. The fight against global apartheid is a matter of life and death for humankind and for the very concept of our common humanity. We should make it clear that genuine globalization requires that Global Democracy replaces global apartheid.

Shelly Mahajan

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