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Nelson Mandela

Detecting the Scam

 

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Articles:
a brief overview of Apartheid (Part 3)
How the government implemented apartheid

The following is an extract from Detecting the Scam: Nelson Mandela's Gift...

* * * * *

[I]n 1948, Dr. Malan’s National Party won the all-white election on the platform of apartheid. All of South Africa watched as the government set about implementing its policy of apartheid.

Monty Python would have been proud of them. Indeed, only the zaniest comedy writers could have made up how they approached their task of creating a body of laws that would separate the races. But these folks were not comedians. They were deadly serious. And what they were doing was an affront to all right-minded South Africans with any sense of fairness and what was right.

This is how the government went about its task:

Classifying the races

It began with an “us vs. them” approach. While there were many different racial groups in South Africa, for the government there were only two groups: us and them. The “us” group consisted of everyone it deemed “white.” The other group consisted of everyone else―the “nonwhites.” The nonwhite group was then divided into the black/African people, the Indians, and the Coloreds, who were of mixed race. Remembering that the object of apartheid was to separate the whites and nonwhites, a starting point had to be to decide who was “white” and who was not. And this was not as easy as the government leaders might first have thought.

They responded with some Pythonesque techniques, such as measuring the curliness of hair or the thickness of lips for determining whether or not someone was “white.” They might, for example, put a pencil through the hair. If it stuck in the hair, the person would be classified as “nonwhite.”

Separate areas, amenities, and facilities

Only when the government’s world was neatly divided by race could it separate the races by permitting whites and nonwhites to live and work only in prescribed racial areas. It then gave each member of the nonwhite group a passbook to permit him or her to be in a prescribed area. Needless to say, the failure to carry that passbook would result in arrest and detention. The same result would occur if he or she were caught in an area not designated as permissible in that passbook. This system of passbooks did not apply to the white group.

What was the point of this physical separation? One point was to protect the well-paying, high-end jobs for whites by preventing those jobs from becoming available to the nonwhites. Another was to allow the forced eviction of tens of thousands of nonwhite people from homes their families had lived in for generations. One example was the case of District 6, a multiracial community on the edge of Cape Town city center. Under the new laws, forty thousand people were evicted and their community was bulldozed.

To keep interracial contact to the minimum and to separate the different races further, new legislation was passed. This required all races to have separate amenities such as toilets, parks, buses, and beaches. This was not separate-but-equal legislation. It was the opposite. It also created complicated issues for them.

Take, for example, the unexpected problem presented by “white beaches.” On the one hand, it made total sense to the government that the best beaches be reserved for whites. On the other hand, it apparently forgot that many white families took their children to the beach with their black nannies. The new law did not permit the black nannies on those beaches. What were the white moms to do? Well, they demanded and received special dispensation for their nannies. The government quickly permitted black nannies on the “whites-only” beaches to look after white children, provided, however, that the nannies did not enter the water. This made as much sense as allowing blacks to clean Dutch Reform church buildings, but not allowing them to pray in those buildings.

Public transportation was also segregated―sometimes with tragic results. There were reports of people lying injured waiting for the racially correct ambulance to arrive. If a “whites-only” ambulance responded to a traffic accident and found seriously injured nonwhite victims, it was not permitted to help. Instead, it would have to leave those injured nonwhite passengers for a “nonwhite” ambulance. This was more than just another humiliation.

Cupid and the world of literature presented two otherpractical, semi-humorous problems the regime faced.

The problems posed by Cupid

The apartheid leaders understood the enormous problem Cupid posed. They understood that the whole fabric of their apartheid system could be ripped apart if white people fell in love or lust with anyone of a different color. The government’s solution was obvious: It passed another law: the Immorality Act.

This piece of legislation made it a criminal offense for any sexual act to take place between a white and a nonwhite person. Again, sadly for the government, this was also not as easy as it sounded. It therefore came up with whatever tools it thought the police would need to enforce this law. For example, the government empowered the police to raid the homes of any suspects and seize their bedclothes as evidence. Obviously, this assumed that people in lust were wearing bedclothes when they were doing whatever it was they were not permitted to do. The police could also arrest persons found together in parked cars if they suspected the occupants either of having had sex or, God forbid, conspiring to do so. Again, the Monty Python writers had to be scribbling furiously for their next project.

The problems posed by literature

The world of ideas and literature posed an even more formidable problem and challenge for the government. It would have to deal with the very real danger presented by the written word—and, of course, any subversive ideas those words might generate.

Again, the solution was obvious to the government: It passed another law that created a Censorship Board to give its stamp of approval on what citizens could read and watch in apartheid South Africa.

There was one teeny-weeny and quite foreseeable problem: the sheer quantity of reading and video material. Undaunted, the board members set about their task with vigor and gusto. They would not be delayed by the time it would take actually to read and view the massive amount of material that had been generated since the invention of the printing presses hundreds of years earlier. No, they would not have to read everything before passing judgment on the material.

One example that absolutely delighted the enlightened few was when the Censorship Board banned the classic tale of a dark horse. It was the title that made the banning inevitable: It was Black Beauty. And, no, I am not making this up…

The problem of education

Another problem the government faced was not at all amusing. Ironically, how it addressed this problem ultimately led directly to the downfall of apartheid. It led to the Soweto children’s uprising almost twenty years later.

The architects of apartheid understood the problem of education and schooling was pivotal to the success of the implementation of their policy. Here, the government’s approach was chilling and resembled Stephen King more than Monty Python.

The government proceeded to segregate the school system. Different curriculum subjects were taught to different racial groups. When the intellectual architect of apartheid, Dr. Verwoerd, introduced the education bill, he used language that was reminiscent of the Nazi propaganda he once promoted:

“I will reform black education so that Natives will be taught from childhood to realize that equality with Europeans is not for them.”

This was as chilling as his rationale:

“What is the use of teaching a Bantu child mathematics when he cannot use it in practice?”

Later, as prime minister, he recognized that expanding industries in white areas needed an expanding black labor force. He had the challenge of rationalizing the presence of black labor in his white society. He accepted the challenge: He described blacks as being like “donkeys, oxen, and tractors” that could someday be replaced by other machinery. Now, the next question was, how would the government enforce all of this?

The Suppression of Communism Act

The cornerstone of the government’s security legislation was the Suppression of Communism Act. This declared the Communist Party and its ideology illegal. Presumably, someone in the government would have to delve into the writings and philosophy of Marx, Hegel, and Engels to define exactly what was “Communist ideology.”

This conjured up the delicious thought of a group of apartheid government bureaucrats sitting around a smoke-filled table pondering the nuances of Marx’s Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. Instead, they sidestepped the problem. Undaunted by any intellectual niceties, they came up with a disingenuous solution. They simply defined Communist ideology as any scheme that aimed “at bringing about any political, industrial, social, or economic change within the Union by the promotion of disturbance or disorder” or that encouraged “feelings of hostility between the European and the non-European races of the Union the consequences of which are calculated to “further” disorder.

This was later referred to as “statutory communism,” since it bore no relation or resemblance to the actual doctrines of Communism. It also raised another question: What if the government policy itself invoked “feelings of hostility” between the races. Could the government itself be guilty of infringing its own law?

The government then proceeded to use this act to silence and detain any anti-apartheid activist. It allowed the minister of justice to list members of anti-apartheid organizations and to ban them, usually for five-year periods, from attending public meetings, or from being in any specified area of South Africa.