A Quick History of Apartheid

Before we begin our journey through South Africa it is helpful to have a basic understanding of Apartheid. To help explain this system of segregation, I meet with John Kani at the Apartheid Museum.

When I was in school, I learned that the U.S. Civil Rights Movement was similar to the fight against Apartheid. Dr. Kani explains the differences between the two.

In the U.S, those fighting in the Civil Rights Movement wanted equality. African-Americans weren’t allowed to vote. Buses, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and even schools were segregated.

In South Africa, non-whites suffered these things as well. But, under Apartheid the National Party tried to keep racial groups completely separate.

South Africa started much like America. In both countries, the Dutch and British claimed lands belonging to native people. Europeans came to South Africa in the 1600s and created laws to control where the native people lived or travelled. By the mid-1900s, blacks, coloured, and Indians saw their homes taken away.

The end of Apartheid happened during my lifetime. While I was in middle school, children my age in South Africa fought and sometimes died to get a better education. Adults fought for the right to vote. These are basic rights that I have had all my life.

Can you think of any places in the world today where people are struggling for their rights?