🤩 Discover new information from across the web

Apartheid

System of racial segregation based on skin colour common in South Africa

Top 10 Apartheid related articles

Apartheid (South African English/əˈpɑːrtd/; Afrikaans: [aˈpartɦɛit], segregation; lit. "aparthood") was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s.[note 1] Apartheid was characterised by an authoritarian political culture based on baasskap (or white supremacy), which ensured that South Africa was dominated politically, socially, and economically by the nation's minority white population.[4] According to this system of social stratification, white citizens had the highest status, followed by Asians and Coloureds, then black Africans.[4] The economic legacy and social effects of apartheid continue to the present day.[5][6][7]

Broadly speaking, apartheid was delineated into petty apartheid, which entailed the segregation of public facilities and social events, and grand apartheid, which dictated housing and employment opportunities by race.[8] Prior to the 1940s, some aspects of apartheid had already emerged in the form of minority rule by white South Africans and the socially enforced separation of black Africans from other races, which later extended to pass laws and land apportionment.[9][10] Apartheid was adopted as a formal policy by the South African government after the ascension of the National Party (NP) during the 1948 general elections.[11]

A codified system of racial stratification began to take form in South Africa under the Dutch Empire in the eighteenth century, although informal segregation was present much earlier due to social cleavages between Dutch colonists and a creolised, ethnically diverse slave population.[12] With the rapid growth and industrialisation of the British Cape Colony, racial policies and laws which had previously been relatively relaxed became increasingly rigid, discriminating specifically against black Africans, in the last decade of the 19th century.[13] The policies of the Boer Republics were also racially exclusive; for instance, the Transvaal's constitution barred black African and Coloured participation in church and state.[14]

The first apartheid law was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, 1949, followed closely by the Immorality Amendment Act of 1950, which made it illegal for most South African citizens to marry or pursue sexual relationships across racial lines.[15] The Population Registration Act, 1950 classified all South Africans into one of four racial groups based on appearance, known ancestry, socioeconomic status, and cultural lifestyle: "Black", "White", "Coloureds", and "Indian", the last two of which included several sub-classifications.[16] Places of residence were determined by racial classification.[15] Between 1960 and 1983, 3.5 million black Africans were removed from their homes and forced into segregated neighbourhoods as a result of apartheid legislation, in some of the largest mass evictions in modern history.[17] Most of these targeted removals were intended to restrict the black population to ten designated "tribal homelands", also known as bantustans, four of which became nominally independent states.[15] The government announced that relocated persons would lose their South African citizenship as they were absorbed into the bantustans.[8]

Apartheid sparked significant international and domestic opposition, resulting in some of the most influential global social movements of the twentieth century.[18] It was the target of frequent condemnation in the United Nations and brought about an extensive arms and trade embargo on South Africa.[19] During the 1970s and 1980s, internal resistance to apartheid became increasingly militant, prompting brutal crackdowns by the National Party government and protracted sectarian violence that left thousands dead or in detention.[20] Some reforms of the apartheid system were undertaken, including allowing for Indian and Coloured political representation in parliament, but these measures failed to appease most activist groups.[21]

Between 1987 and 1993, the National Party entered into bilateral negotiations with the African National Congress (ANC), the leading anti-apartheid political movement, for ending segregation and introducing majority rule.[21][22] In 1990, prominent ANC figures such as Nelson Mandela were released from prison.[23] Apartheid legislation was repealed on 17 June 1991,[2] pending multiracial elections held under a universal suffrage set for April 1994.[24]

Apartheid Intro articles: 24

Etymology

Apartheid is an Afrikaans[25] word meaning "separateness", or "the state of being apart", literally "apart-hood" (from Afrikaans "-heid").[26][27] Its first recorded use was in 1929.[15]

Overview of "Afrikaans" article

Precursors

Under the 1806 Cape Articles of Capitulation the new British colonial rulers were required to respect previous legislation enacted under Roman Dutch law[28] and this led to a separation of the law in South Africa from English Common Law and a high degree of legislative autonomy. The governors and assemblies that governed the legal process in the various colonies of South Africa were launched on a different and independent legislative path from the rest of the British Empire.

In the days of slavery, slaves required passes to travel away from their masters. In 1797 the Landdrost and Heemraden of Swellendam and Graaff-Reinet extended pass laws beyond slaves and ordained that all Khoikhoi (designated as Hottentots) moving about the country for any purpose should carry passes.[29] This was confirmed by the British Colonial government in 1809 by the Hottentot Proclamation, which decreed that if a Khoikhoi were to move they would need a pass from their master or a local official.[29] Ordinance No. 49 of 1828 decreed that prospective black immigrants were to be granted passes for the sole purpose of seeking work.[29] These passes were to be issued for Coloureds and Khoikhoi, but not for other Africans, who were still forced to carry passes.

The United Kingdom's Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV c. 73) abolished slavery throughout the British Empire and overrode the Cape Articles of Capitulation. To comply with the act the South African legislation was expanded to include Ordinance 1 in 1835, which effectively changed the status of slaves to indentured labourers. This was followed by Ordinance 3 in 1848, which introduced an indenture system for Xhosa that was little different from slavery. The various South African colonies passed legislation throughout the rest of the nineteenth century to limit the freedom of unskilled workers, to increase the restrictions on indentured workers and to regulate the relations between the races.

In the Cape Colony, which previously had a liberal and multi-racial constitution and a system of franchise open to men of all races, the Franchise and Ballot Act of 1892 raised the property franchise qualification and added an educational element, disenfranchising a disproportionate number of the Cape's non-white voters,[30] and the Glen Grey Act of 1894 instigated by the government of Prime Minister Cecil John Rhodes limited the amount of land Africans could hold. Similarly, in Natal, the Natal Legislative Assembly Bill of 1894 deprived Indians of the right to vote.[31]

In 1896 the South African Republic brought in two pass laws requiring Africans to carry a badge. Only those employed by a master were permitted to remain on the Rand and those entering a "labour district" needed a special pass.[32]

In 1905 the General Pass Regulations Act denied blacks the vote and limited them to fixed areas,[33] and in 1906 the Asiatic Registration Act of the Transvaal Colony required all Indians to register and carry passes.[34] The latter was repealed by the British government but re-enacted again in 1908.

In 1910, the Union of South Africa was created as a self-governing dominion, which continued the legislative programme: the South Africa Act (1910) enfranchised white people, giving them complete political control over all other racial groups while removing the right of black people to sit in parliament,[35] the Native Land Act (1913) prevented blacks, except those in the Cape, from buying land outside "reserves",[35] the Natives in Urban Areas Bill (1918) was designed to force black people into "locations",[36] the Urban Areas Act (1923) introduced residential segregation and provided cheap labour for industry led by white people, the Colour Bar Act (1926) prevented black mine workers from practising skilled trades, the Native Administration Act (1927) made the British Crown, rather than paramount chiefs, the supreme head over all African affairs,[37] the Native Land and Trust Act (1936) complemented the 1913 Native Land Act and, in the same year, the Representation of Natives Act removed previous black voters from the Cape voters' roll and allowed them to elect three whites to Parliament.[38] One of the first pieces of segregating legislation enacted by Jan Smuts' United Party government was the Asiatic Land Tenure Bill (1946), which banned land sales to Indians and Indian descendent South Africans.[39]

The United Party government began to move away from the rigid enforcement of segregationist laws during World War II.[40] Amid fears integration would eventually lead to racial assimilation, the National Party established the Sauer Commission to investigate the effects of the United Party's policies. The commission concluded that integration would bring about a "loss of personality" for all racial groups.

Apartheid Precursors articles: 39

Institution

Election of 1948

Daniel François Malan, the first apartheid-era prime minister (1948–1954)

South Africa had allowed social custom and law to govern the consideration of multiracial affairs and of the allocation, in racial terms, of access to economic, social, and political status.[41] Most white South Africans, regardless of their own differences, accepted the prevailing pattern. Nevertheless, by 1948 it remained apparent that there were gaps in the social structure, whether legislated or otherwise, concerning the rights and opportunities of nonwhites. The rapid economic development of World War II attracted black migrant workers in large numbers to chief industrial centres, where they compensated for the wartime shortage of white labour. However, this escalated rate of black urbanisation went unrecognised by the South African government, which failed to accommodate the influx with parallel expansion in housing or social services.[41] Overcrowding, increasing crime rates, and disillusionment resulted; urban blacks came to support a new generation of leaders influenced by the principles of self-determination and popular freedoms enshrined in such statements as the Atlantic Charter. Whites reacted negatively to the changes, allowing the Herenigde Nasionale Party (or simply the National Party) to convince a large segment of the voting bloc that the impotence of the United Party in curtailing the evolving position of nonwhites indicated that the organisation had fallen under the influence of Western liberals.[41] Many Afrikaners, white South Africans chiefly of Dutch descent but with early infusions of Germans and French Huguenots who were soon assimilated, also resented what they perceived as disempowerment by an underpaid black workforce and the superior economic power and prosperity of white English speakers.[42] In addition, Jan Smuts, as a strong advocate of the United Nations, lost domestic support when South Africa was criticised for its colour bar and the continued mandate of South West Africa by other UN member states.[43]

Afrikaner nationalists proclaimed that they offered the voters a new policy to ensure continued white domination.[44] This policy was initially expounded from a theory drafted by Hendrik Verwoerd and was presented to the National Party by the Sauer Commission.[41] It called for a systematic effort to organise the relations, rights, and privileges of the races as officially defined through a series of parliamentary acts and administrative decrees. Segregation had thus been pursued only in major matters, such as separate schools, and local society rather than law had been depended upon to enforce most separation; it should now be extended to everything.[41] The party gave this policy a name – apartheid (apartness). Apartheid was to be the basic ideological and practical foundation of Afrikaner politics for the next quarter of a century.[44]

The National Party's election platform stressed that apartheid would preserve a market for white employment in which nonwhites could not compete. On the issues of black urbanisation, the regulation of nonwhite labour, influx control, social security, farm tariffs, and nonwhite taxation the United Party's policy remained contradictory and confused.[43] Its traditional bases of support not only took mutually exclusive positions, but found themselves increasingly at odds with each other. Smuts' reluctance to consider South African foreign policy against the mounting tensions of the Cold War also stirred up discontent, while the nationalists promised to purge the state and public service of communist sympathisers.[43]

First to desert the United Party were Afrikaner farmers, who wished to see a change in influx control due to problems with squatters, as well as higher prices for their maize and other produce in the face of the mineowners' demand for cheap food policies. Always identified with the affluent and capitalist, the party also failed to appeal to its working class constituents.[43] Populist rhetoric allowed the National Party to sweep eight constituencies in the mining and industrial centres of the Witwatersrand and five more in Pretoria. Barring the predominantly English-speaking landowner electorate of the Natal, the United Party was defeated in almost every rural district. Its urban losses in the nation's most populous province, the Transvaal, proved equally devastating.[43] As the voting system was disproportionately weighted in favour of rural constituencies and the Transvaal in particular, the 1948 election catapulted the Herenigde Nasionale Party from a small minority party to a commanding position with an eight-vote parliamentary lead.[45][46] Daniel François Malan became the first nationalist prime minister, with the aim of implementing the apartheid philosophy and silencing liberal opposition.[41]

When the National Party came to power in 1948, there were factional differences in the party about the implementation of systemic racial segregation. The "baasskap" (white domination or supremacist) faction, which was the dominant faction in the NP, and state institutions, favoured systematic segregation, but also favoured the participation of black Africans in the economy with black labour controlled to advance the economic gains of Afrikaners. A second faction were the "purists", who believed in "vertical segregation", in which blacks and whites would be entirely separated, with blacks living in native reserves, with separate political and economic structures, which, they believed, would entail severe short-term pain, but would also lead to independence of white South Africa from black labour in the long-term. A third faction, which included Hendrik Verwoerd, sympathised with the purists, but allowed for the use of black labour, while implementing the purist goal of vertical separation.[47]

Legislation

NP leaders argued that South Africa did not comprise a single nation, but was made up of four distinct racial groups: white, black, Coloured and Indian. Such groups were split into 13 nations or racial federations. White people encompassed the English and Afrikaans language groups; the black populace was divided into ten such groups.

The state passed laws that paved the way for "grand apartheid", which was centred on separating races on a large scale, by compelling people to live in separate places defined by race. This strategy was in part adopted from "left-over" British rule that separated different racial groups after they took control of the Boer republics in the Anglo-Boer war. This created the black-only "townships" or "locations", where blacks were relocated to their own towns. In addition, "petty apartheid" laws were passed. The principal apartheid laws were as follows.[48]

The first grand apartheid law was the Population Registration Act of 1950, which formalised racial classification and introduced an identity card for all persons over the age of 18, specifying their racial group.[49] Official teams or boards were established to come to a conclusion on those people whose race was unclear.[50] This caused difficulty, especially for Coloured people, separating their families when members were allocated different races.[51]

The second pillar of grand apartheid was the Group Areas Act of 1950.[52] Until then, most settlements had people of different races living side by side. This Act put an end to diverse areas and determined where one lived according to race. Each race was allotted its own area, which was used in later years as a basis of forced removal.[53] The Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act of 1951 allowed the government to demolish black shanty town slums and forced white employers to pay for the construction of housing for those black workers who were permitted to reside in cities otherwise reserved for whites.[54]

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 prohibited marriage between persons of different races, and the Immorality Act of 1950 made sexual relations with a person of a different race a criminal offence.

Under the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953, municipal grounds could be reserved for a particular race, creating, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities. Signboards such as "whites only" applied to public areas, even including park benches.[55] Black South Africans were provided with services greatly inferior to those of whites, and, to a lesser extent, to those of Indian and Coloured people.[56]

Further laws had the aim of suppressing resistance, especially armed resistance, to apartheid. The Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 banned any party subscribing to Communism. The act defined Communism and its aims so sweepingly that anyone who opposed government policy risked being labelled as a Communist. Since the law specifically stated that Communism aimed to disrupt racial harmony, it was frequently used to gag opposition to apartheid. Disorderly gatherings were banned, as were certain organisations that were deemed threatening to the government.

The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 created separate government structures for blacks and whites and was the first piece of legislation to support the government's plan of separate development in the bantustans. The Promotion of Black Self-Government Act of 1959 entrenched the NP policy of nominally independent "homelands" for blacks. So-called "self–governing Bantu units" were proposed, which would have devolved administrative powers, with the promise later of autonomy and self-government. It also abolished the seats of white representatives of black South Africans and removed from the rolls the few blacks still qualified to vote. The Bantu Investment Corporation Act of 1959 set up a mechanism to transfer capital to the homelands to create employment there. Legislation of 1967 allowed the government to stop industrial development in "white" cities and redirect such development to the "homelands". The Black Homeland Citizenship Act of 1970 marked a new phase in the Bantustan strategy. It changed the status of blacks to citizens of one of the ten autonomous territories. The aim was to ensure a demographic majority of white people within South Africa by having all ten Bantustans achieve full independence.

Interracial contact in sport was frowned upon, but there were no segregatory sports laws.

The government tightened pass laws compelling blacks to carry identity documents, to prevent the immigration of blacks from other countries. To reside in a city, blacks had to be in employment there. Until 1956 women were for the most part excluded from these pass requirements, as attempts to introduce pass laws for women were met with fierce resistance.[57]

Disenfranchisement of Coloured voters

Cape Coloured children in Bonteheuwel
Annual per capita personal income by race group in South Africa relative to white levels.

In 1950, D. F. Malan announced the NP's intention to create a Coloured Affairs Department.[58] J.G. Strijdom, Malan's successor as Prime Minister, moved to strip voting rights from black and Coloured residents of the Cape Province. The previous government had introduced the Separate Representation of Voters Bill into Parliament in 1951, turning it to be an Act on 18 June 1951; however, four voters, G Harris, W D Franklin, W D Collins and Edgar Deane, challenged its validity in court with support from the United Party.[59] The Cape Supreme Court upheld the act, but reversed by the Appeal Court, finding the act invalid because a two-thirds majority in a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament was needed to change the entrenched clauses of the Constitution.[60] The government then introduced the High Court of Parliament Bill (1952), which gave Parliament the power to overrule decisions of the court.[61] The Cape Supreme Court and the Appeal Court declared this invalid too.[62]

In 1955 the Strijdom government increased the number of judges in the Appeal Court from five to 11, and appointed pro-Nationalist judges to fill the new places.[63] In the same year they introduced the Senate Act, which increased the Senate from 49 seats to 89.[64] Adjustments were made such that the NP controlled 77 of these seats.[65] The parliament met in a joint sitting and passed the Separate Representation of Voters Act in 1956, which transferred Coloured voters from the common voters' roll in the Cape to a new Coloured voters' roll.[66] Immediately after the vote, the Senate was restored to its original size. The Senate Act was contested in the Supreme Court, but the recently enlarged Appeal Court, packed with government-supporting judges, upheld the act, and also the Act to remove Coloured voters.[67]

The 1956 law allowed Coloureds to elect four people to Parliament, but a 1969 law abolished those seats and stripped Coloureds of their right to vote. Since Asians had never been allowed to vote, this resulted in whites being the sole enfranchised group.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Politics suggests that disenfranchisement in South Africa had a significant negative impact on basic service delivery to the disenfranchised.[68]

Division among whites

Before South Africa became a republic in 1961, politics among white South Africans was typified by the division between the mainly Afrikaner pro-republic conservative and the largely English anti-republican liberal sentiments,[69] with the legacy of the Boer War still a factor for some people. Once South Africa became a republic, Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd called for improved relations and greater accord between people of British descent and the Afrikaners.[70] He claimed that the only difference was between those in favour of apartheid and those against it. The ethnic division would no longer be between Afrikaans and English speakers, but between blacks and whites.

Most Afrikaners supported the notion of unanimity of white people to ensure their safety. White voters of British descent were divided. Many had opposed a republic, leading to a majority "no" vote in Natal.[71] Later, some of them recognised the perceived need for white unity, convinced by the growing trend of decolonisation elsewhere in Africa, which concerned them. British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's "Wind of Change" speech left the British faction feeling that the United Kingdom had abandoned them.[72] The more conservative English speakers supported Verwoerd;[73] others were troubled by the severing of ties with the UK and remained loyal to the Crown.[74] They were displeased by having to choose between British and South African nationalities. Although Verwoerd tried to bond these different blocs, the subsequent voting illustrated only a minor swell of support,[75] indicating that a great many English speakers remained apathetic and that Verwoerd had not succeeded in uniting the white population.

Apartheid Institution articles: 114

Homeland system

Map of the 20 bantustans in South Africa and South West Africa.

Under the homeland system, the government attempted to divide South Africa and South West Africa into a number of separate states, each of which was supposed to develop into a separate nation-state for a different ethnic group.[76]

Territorial separation was hardly a new institution. There were, for example, the "reserves" created under the British government in the nineteenth century. Under apartheid, 13 percent of the land was reserved for black homelands, a small amount relative to its total population, and generally in economically unproductive areas of the country. The Tomlinson Commission of 1954 justified apartheid and the homeland system, but stated that additional land ought to be given to the homelands, a recommendation that was not carried out.[77]

When Verwoerd became Prime Minister in 1958, the policy of "separate development" came into being, with the homeland structure as one of its cornerstones. Verwoerd came to believe in the granting of independence to these homelands. The government justified its plans on the ostensible basis that "(the) government's policy is, therefore, not a policy of discrimination on the grounds of race or colour, but a policy of differentiation on the ground of nationhood, of different nations, granting to each self-determination within the borders of their homelands – hence this policy of separate development".[78] Under the homelands system, blacks would no longer be citizens of South Africa, becoming citizens of the independent homelands who worked in South Africa as foreign migrant labourers on temporary work permits. In 1958 the Promotion of Black Self-Government Act was passed, and border industries and the Bantu Investment Corporation were established to promote economic development and the provision of employment in or near the homelands. Many black South Africans who had never resided in their identified homeland were forcibly removed from the cities to the homelands.

The vision of a South Africa divided into multiple ethnostates appealed to the reform-minded Afrikaner intelligensia, and it provided a more coherent philosophical and moral framework for the National Party's policies, while also providing a veneer of intellectual respectability to the controversial policy of so-called baasskap.[79][80][81]

Rural area in Ciskei, one the four nominally independent homelands.

In total, 20 homelands were allocated to ethnic groups, ten in South Africa proper and ten in South West Africa. Of these 20 homelands, 19 were classified as black, while one, Basterland, was set aside for a sub-group of Coloureds known as Basters, who are closely related to Afrikaners. Four of the homelands were declared independent by the South African government: Transkei in 1976, Bophuthatswana in 1977, Venda in 1979, and Ciskei in 1981 (known as the TBVC states). Once a homeland was granted its nominal independence, its designated citizens had their South African citizenship revoked and replaced with citizenship in their homeland. These people were then issued passports instead of passbooks. Citizens of the nominally autonomous homelands also had their South African citizenship circumscribed, meaning they were no longer legally considered South African.[82] The South African government attempted to draw an equivalence between their view of black citizens of the homelands and the problems which other countries faced through entry of illegal immigrants.

International recognition of the Bantustans

Bantustans within the borders of South Africa and South West Africa were classified by degree of nominal self-rule: 6 were "non-self-governing", 10 were "self-governing", and 4 were "independent". In theory, self-governing Bantustans had control over many aspects of their internal functioning but were not yet sovereign nations. Independent Bantustans (Transkei, Bophutatswana, Venda and Ciskei; also known as the TBVC states) were intended to be fully sovereign. In reality, they had no significant economic infrastructure and with few exceptions encompassed swaths of disconnected territory. This meant all the Bantustans were little more than puppet states controlled by South Africa.

Throughout the existence of the independent Bantustans, South Africa remained the only country to recognise their independence. Nevertheless, internal organisations of many countries, as well as the South African government, lobbied for their recognition. For example, upon the foundation of Transkei, the Swiss-South African Association encouraged the Swiss government to recognise the new state. In 1976, leading up to a United States House of Representatives resolution urging the President to not recognise Transkei, the South African government intensely lobbied lawmakers to oppose the bill.[83] Each TBVC state extended recognition to the other independent Bantustans while South Africa showed its commitment to the notion of TBVC sovereignty by building embassies in the TBVC capitals.

Forced removals

During the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, the government implemented a policy of "resettlement", to force people to move to their designated "group areas". Millions of people were forced to relocate. These removals included people relocated due to slum clearance programmes, labour tenants on white-owned farms, the inhabitants of the so-called "black spots" (black-owned land surrounded by white farms), the families of workers living in townships close to the homelands, and "surplus people" from urban areas, including thousands of people from the Western Cape (which was declared a "Coloured Labour Preference Area")[84] who were moved to the Transkei and Ciskei homelands. The best-publicised forced removals of the 1950s occurred in Johannesburg, when 60,000 people were moved to the new township of Soweto (an abbreviation for South Western Townships).[85][86]

Until 1955, Sophiatown had been one of the few urban areas where black people were allowed to own land, and was slowly developing into a multiracial slum. As industry in Johannesburg grew, Sophiatown became the home of a rapidly expanding black workforce, as it was convenient and close to town. It had the only swimming pool for black children in Johannesburg.[87] As one of the oldest black settlements in Johannesburg, it held an almost symbolic importance for the 50,000 black people it contained. Despite a vigorous ANC protest campaign and worldwide publicity, the removal of Sophiatown began on 9 February 1955 under the Western Areas Removal Scheme. In the early hours, heavily armed police forced residents out of their homes and loaded their belongings onto government trucks. The residents were taken to a large tract of land 19 kilometres (12 mi) from the city centre, known as Meadowlands, which the government had purchased in 1953. Meadowlands became part of a new planned black city called Soweto. Sophiatown was destroyed by bulldozers, and a new white suburb named Triomf (Triumph) was built in its place. This pattern of forced removal and destruction was to repeat itself over the next few years, and was not limited to black South Africans alone. Forced removals from areas like Cato Manor (Mkhumbane) in Durban, and District Six in Cape Town, where 55,000 Coloured and Indian people were forced to move to new townships on the Cape Flats, were carried out under the Group Areas Act of 1950. Nearly 600,000 Coloured, Indian and Chinese people were moved under the Group Areas Act. Some 40,000 whites were also forced to move when land was transferred from "white South Africa" into the black homelands.[88]

Apartheid Homeland system articles: 28

Society during apartheid

Petty apartheid

Signs enforcing petty apartheid
Sign designating a public space as "for use by white persons"
Sign reserving a Natal beach "for the sole use of members of the white race group", in English, Afrikaans, and Zulu

The NP passed a string of legislation that became known as petty apartheid. The first of these was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act 55 of 1949, prohibiting marriage between whites and people of other races. The Immorality Amendment Act 21 of 1950 (as amended in 1957 by Act 23) forbade "unlawful racial intercourse" and "any immoral or indecent act" between a white and a black, Indian or Coloured person.

Black people were not allowed to run businesses or professional practices in areas designated as "white South Africa" unless they had a permit – such being granted only exceptionally. They were required to move to the black "homelands" and set up businesses and practices there. Trains, hospitals and ambulances were segregated.[89] Because of the smaller numbers of white patients and the fact that white doctors preferred to work in white hospitals, conditions in white hospitals were much better than those in often overcrowded and understaffed, significantly underfunded black hospitals.[90] Residential areas were segregated and blacks were allowed to live in white areas only if employed as a servant and even then only in servants’ quarters. Black people were excluded from working in white areas, unless they had a pass, nicknamed the dompas, also spelt dompass or dom pass. The most likely origin of this name is from the Afrikaans "verdomde pas" (meaning accursed pass),[91] although some commentators ascribe it to the Afrikaans words meaning "dumb pass". Only black people with "Section 10" rights (those who had migrated to the cities before World War II) were excluded from this provision. A pass was issued only to a black person with approved work. Spouses and children had to be left behind in black homelands. A pass was issued for one magisterial district (usually one town) confining the holder to that area only. Being without a valid pass made a person subject to arrest and trial for being an illegal migrant. This was often followed by deportation to the person's homeland and prosecution of the employer for employing an illegal migrant. Police vans patrolled white areas to round up blacks without passes. Black people were not allowed to employ whites in white South Africa.[92]

Although trade unions for black and Coloured workers had existed since the early 20th century, it was not until the 1980s reforms that a mass black trade union movement developed. Trade unions under apartheid were racially segregated, with 54 unions being white only, 38 for Indian and Coloured and 19 for black people. The Industrial Conciliation Act (1956) legislated against the creation of multi-racial trade unions and attempted to split existing multi-racial unions into separate branches or organisations along racial lines.[93]

Each black homeland controlled its own education, health and police systems. Blacks were not allowed to buy hard liquor. They were able to buy only state-produced poor quality beer (although this law was relaxed later). Public beaches, swimming pools, some pedestrian bridges, drive-in cinema parking spaces, graveyards, parks, and public toilets were segregated. Cinemas and theatres in white areas were not allowed to admit blacks. There were practically no cinemas in black areas. Most restaurants and hotels in white areas were not allowed to admit blacks except as staff. Blacks were prohibited from attending white churches under the Churches Native Laws Amendment Act of 1957, but this was never rigidly enforced, and churches were one of the few places races could mix without the interference of the law. Blacks earning 360 rand a year or more had to pay taxes while the white threshold was more than twice as high, at 750 rand a year. On the other hand, the taxation rate for whites was considerably higher than that for blacks.

Blacks could never acquire land in white areas. In the homelands, much of the land belonged to a "tribe", where the local chieftain would decide how the land had to be used. This resulted in whites owning almost all the industrial and agricultural lands and much of the prized residential land. Most blacks were stripped of their South African citizenship when the "homelands" became "independent", and they were no longer able to apply for South African passports. Eligibility requirements for a passport had been difficult for blacks to meet, the government contending that a passport was a privilege, not a right, and the government did not grant many passports to blacks. Apartheid pervaded culture as well as the law, and was entrenched by most of the mainstream media.

Coloured classification