South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid


Pillars of Apartheid

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Four groups will research and report on each of the following topics about apartheid:

  • Pass laws
  • Migrant labor
  • Forced removals
  • Bantustans

Read Units 2 and 3 and the Multimedia Resources on your topic. The Timeline of Apartheid Legislation is a useful resource for all groups.
Each group is responsible for reporting on the following:

  • Major legislation adopted by the apartheid government on each topic, along with policies that pre-dated apartheid. What did the laws mean and how did they support the overall philosophy of apartheid? How was government control extended during apartheid?
  • The purpose of the policy from the point of view of white citizens and white-owned companies. (This can include mines, farms, and industry and both domestic and international companies.)
  • How did this system work – how did it affect the lives of African people? Provide at least two cases showing how individual Africans or groups of Africans were affected by the policy. (Include the following for each topic: pass laws - an example that focuses on African townships; migrant labor – single-sex hostels in the mines; forced removals – Africans’ loss of previously-owned land; bantustans – economic conditions.)
  • The scope of the policy – over time, how many black Africans were affected?
Following all four presentations, be prepared to discuss this question:

How did these four policies, taken together, create widespread poverty among Africans?

To prepare for the discussion, read or listen to an excerpt of the interview with South African economist Francis Wilson by Mary Marshall Clark as part of the Carnegie Corporation Oral History Project. Wilson led a project that conducted research for the Second Carnegie Inquiry Into Poverty and Development in Southern Africa.

Video: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/digital/collections/oral_hist/carnegie/video-interviews/

Transcript: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/digital/collections/oral_hist/carnegie/pdfs/francis-wilson.pdf


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