South Africa is most important example of racial inequality and Apartheid are giving in details. Seventy per cent of South African population was of Blacks and another 12 per cent of other non-white communities including ethnic Indians and other Asians. But the whites who comprised only 18 per cent of the population dominated every institution of this country and kept others in reserved areas away from where they lived. Blacks were forbidden from entering into non-reserved areas unless they carried passes to go where they worked in the other parts of the country where the Whites lived in opulence and in comfort and luxury.
A more stringent form of apartheid, Meaning racial segregation or separateness, was introduced by Daniel Malan, the Prime Minister of South Africa in 1948-54. The African Nationalist Party which Danial Malan headed got wide support from the country’s White people who feared an end to their domination of South Africa as a result of India attaining its independence and the British Commonwealth upholding the spirit of racial equality. Nazi style propaganda. espousing superiority of the White people over non-whites was spread surprisingly. The Dutch reformed Church, the official Church of South Africa also supported this view. Malan’s successors Strijdom (1954-58) and Vorster (1966-78) continued with apartheid despite international condemnation that reduced South Africa to the status of a pariah nation due to international boycott.
Apartheid took very disgusting appearances. The non-whites were forced to live in crowded townships where sanitation was absent. There was also nothing permanent about their dwelling. They could be uprooted from their towns if a local White community decided that the non-whites are living too close and are menace for their comforts. There were separate buses, trains, separate park benches for the non-whites. Their children went to inferior schools. Every person had to carry a racial identity card and could be challenged by a White policemen at any time to prove that he was in an unreserved area. On work they had no political right and the South African Parliament was totally White dominated. Mahatma Gandhi was thrown from 1st class railway compartment though he possessed 1st class ticket. Mahatma Gandhi began his opposition movements from South Africa but apartheid continued.
Anybody who opposed this system was branded a communist and could be held in custody for indefinite period under the suppression of communist Act. In spite of this the African National Congress dared to start a protest movement. In 1953 its leader Albert Luthyli , organised a satyagralia type movement (the ANC openly acknowledged Mahatma Gandhi as its first leader and got inspiration from him) by stopping work on certain days. Its workers walked into shop reserved for whites, the government cracked down on them in a barbarous manner and over 82000 people were flogged in public. Luthulu was jailed and the ANC was suppressed.
But the other non-white groups like the Asians followed them. In 1955, the ANC formed a coalition with these outfits and developed a Freedom Charter which proclaimed that “South Africa belongs to all, who live in it, Black and White, and no government can claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.” It demanded equality before the law, freedom of assembly, movement, speech, religion and the press, the right to vote, work for equal pay and 40 hour working week with unemployment benefits, free medical care and free and equal education for non-white.
The cycle of protests and reprisals reached to climax. The most brutal government crackdown was witnessed at Sharpville in the outskirts of Johannesburg in 1960 when a peaceful demonstration against the hated Law was fired upon by the police, Sixty seven people were killed and hundreds were wounded. This convinced many Black leaders that non-violence was not working and soon bomb attacks were launched. This promoted large scale persecution. The ANC was banned and Nelson Mandela, its most charismatic leader was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. The ANC, however, carried on protesting. Its leader, Luthuli died in 1967. But it is widely believed that he was probably murdered, but Nelson Mandela became most popular.