The Degrading Effects of Apartheid
In South Africa apartheid became a law in 1948. The word is Afrikaans (Dutch
African) and literally means "apartness" or "separateness". It is a policy of political,
social, racial, and economic discrimination and segregation against non-whites in South
Africa. In 1982, at the time when Athol Fugard wrote his play, " Master Harold"...and
the boys" ,South Africa was in the midst of the oppression of blacks. Many people were
facing decisions on whether to continue the racial segregation and hatred against blacks
or have the courage to end it. As South Africa struggles to dismantle apartheid, the media
remains suppressed and has no real outlet to make the desolate situation known to the rest
of the world (Vandenbroucke 1687). The Board of Censors regularly bans plays, movies,
newspaper articles, news stories, and books if their contents are considered politically
undesirable. Many playwrights, journalists, and authors are put on house arrest or jailed
for voicing their opinion.
Some, like Fugard, who are brave enough to fight the system,
have their works banned and have to struggle to get their works publicized, as South
African Literature is being held hostage by the apartheid system (Donahue 324). Athol
Fugard uses his play "Master Harold"...and the boys to expose the degrading effects of
the apartheid system by exploring education, living conditions, rights, and job
opportunities of blacks living in South Africa.
Fugard uses his play to expose the degrading effects apartheid has on the education
of blacks in South Africa. He uses Sam, a 40 year old black servant, and Hally, a 17 year old white student on the verge of becoming a man, to show the differences in the
education of blacks and whites. The status of education in South Africa demonstrates the
legacy of apartheid. The Bantu...