The following essay is mainly about the history behind South Africa. It includes how segregation affected South Africa's future. Segregation has caused many rebellions, wars, and fights throughout South Africa's history.
Discrimination against nonwhites was inherent in South African society from the earliest days. A clause in the Act of Union of 1910 provided that the native policies of the provinces would be retained and could be changed only by a two-thirds majority vote of parliament. In Cape Colony the Coloured and a few black Africans could vote, a right not available in the other three provinces. The Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, in a 21-year period before World War I, led the struggle to assure civil rights for Indian residents. Despite some government concessions, including abolition of the poll tax, the Indian population still had second-class status after the war.
South African blacks had an even lower status in the white-dominated state.
Urban blacks lived in segregated areas and could not hold office or vote. They had no viable labor unions, and technical and administrative positions were closed to them. Even so, the National party, which had been formed in 1914, accused Prime Minister Smuts of allowing whites to be swallowed in a black sea. In the 1948 elections the National party, led by Daniel F. Malan, won a narrow victory and began to implement its harsh concept of apartheid, which was designed to separate the races economically, politically, geographically, and socially. Strikes and protests for economic and political rights by non-Europeans in the aftermath of World War II-inspired in part by the anti-colonial movement in Asia and Africa-had emboldened racist forces to take steps to head off any new militancy. The government's position was strengthened when the National party merged with the smaller Afrikaner party in...