Meaning of Apartheid

Apartheid is a term that belongs to the Afrikaans language, a variety of the Dutch language. The concept can be translated as “separation”. Specifically, the idea of ​​apartheid is used with reference to racial segregation, especially that which existed in South Africa between 1948 and 1992 and was imposed by the white minority of that nation.

South African apartheid, established by law, established different places for whites and blacks. It also banned interracial marriages and granted voting rights only to white citizens.

In the framework of apartheid, therefore, in South Africa there were schools, hospitals and different means of transport according to the race of citizens. The racism legally imposed by the white population in power made blacks have to settle for lower-level services: white hospitals, for example, were much better equipped than black health centers. There were even entire neighborhoods assigned to one race or another, always providing the best conditions for whites.

During the apartheid decades, there were many activists who protested against the regime and tried to overthrow it. The most famous was Nelson Mandela, who was in prison for 27 years for his pro-equality militancy. In 1990 he regained his freedom and four years later, when apartheid had already fallen, he was elected President of South Africa.

Regarding the background of this racist movement, it is important to highlight that the white Dutch settlers had practiced it for several centuries before it acquired a legal and official character. Contempt against black people in South Africa was already a theme in its recent history, even if the British did not support it through its norms: it was an attitude that came mainly from whites of Afrikaner origin.

This lack of support from the British authorities led the racist portion of the Afrikaner population to fight over several decades to get their measures implemented, which they presented as part of a movement to preserve national identity. This confrontation by the Afrikaner whites against the liberal ideas of the British colony occurred especially after the two Boer Wars, which took place between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th between both parties.

Once the Union of South Africa achieved internal self – government in the Commonwealth, in 1910, political activity Afrikaner focused on the formalization of racial segregation through the issuance of internal regulations that hinder the development economic and political citizens black. South African apartheid was one of the many expressions of contempt that human beings can feel for someone simply because they have a different skin color than ours, something that unfortunately continues to occur today in many parts of the world.

It should be noted that, beyond what happened in South Africa, the idea of ​​apartheid can also be used to name other systems of racial segregation. In Alabama and other American states, there was an apartheid that, among other things, forced blacks to give up their seats on public transportation to whites.

While white people free from the virus of racism can read and learn about all these forms of contempt for blacks, only they can understand their reach, feel firsthand the eyes of those who consider them inferior, attitudes such as crossing paths. to avoid passing by them or the comments that even certain government figures make to locate them as second-class citizens.