My generation has grown up under the false assumption that racial struggles ended everywhere when Civil Rights were achieved in the United States during the 1960s. We had no idea that just on the other side of the world, a struggle was enduring that was beyond our own comprehension; a struggle that could quite possibly make the Civil Rights movement in our own country seem like nothing. It was never taught in the history books of our high school classrooms, and most college courses concentrate on problems in Europe and the United States. However, it cannot be disputed that Apartheid in South Africa took ideas of segregation to its utmost extreme, and repressions soared to their deadliest heights. What really sets it apart however, is the fact that in most Civil Rights Movements the oppressed represent a minority of the population, but in South Africa, the oppressed stood at 70% of the population. .
Both the British and the Dutch colonized South Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Immediately, racial sanctions were set up to ensure the purity of the white race just as they were in most other colonies. Peace ended when the English invaded the Dutch lands in pursuit of diamonds; this led to the Boer War that lasted from 1899 to 1902. The 1940s marked a time of a new white supremacy. The Dutch in South Africa, who had become known as Afrikaners, finally gained a majority, took a reign in government that would last nearly 50 years. .
Loosely translated, Apartheid means "apart or separateness," however the Afrikaners invented it as a way to maintain white domination, and to control the economic and social systems as fully as possible. The 1940s and 1950s marked a time when the Afrikaner government passed various acts, and allowed unjust laws to be carried out. They were met by peaceful demonstrations, and smaller riots during this time, eventually resulting in even stricter sanctions.