Dutch South African society—with racial inequality still very much

Dutch settlers arrived in South Africa in 1651—which sparked
the first instance of a changing culture, society, and lifestyle for the
African natives. Apartheid, however, began in South Africa in 1948, and was
described as a system of racist policies and laws of total segregation. Apartheid
had led to many conflicts in South Africa, with the main being racial
discrimination and segregation. This ultimately led to poverty-stricken areas
where people of color were confined to. Although the apartheid laws were
abolished, racial conflicts are still very much present within South African
society—with racial inequality still very much present.

The South African National Party came into power in 1948,
where the government, made up of mainly whites, began to enforce existing
policies of racial segregation under a system of legislation which ultimately led
to the existence of apartheid. Under apartheid all nonwhite South Africans
(which was the majority of the population) were forced into confinement, separate
from all whites. Not only was their freedom of movement terminated, people of
color were forced to use separate public facilities and were not allowed to
have social or intimate contact with whites, which was implemented by the South
African government in 1927, known as the Immorality Act. As seen in author Nadine
Gordimer’s story, “City Lovers,” a person of color cannot have any type of love
affair with a white individual, and if one did, they would face the consequences.
The story takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa during apartheid. Dr. von
Leinsdorf is a white Austrian scientist who has an intimate relationship with a
young, colored African woman. Due to the illegality of the affair, three police
officers show up to Dr. von Leinsdorf’s apartment and took both persons to the
police station. The woman was forced into taking a vaginal examination to prove
whether she took part in sexual relations with Dr. von Leinsdorf. Once the
court could not prove both individuals had intercourse with one another, the girl
and the man parted ways without ever seeing each other again. This example
portrays the intensity of South African laws during the time of apartheid, and
in this situation, the Immorality Act. The strict nature of these policies had
forced the South African people to live a life run by the government, without
having a say in their own wellbeing. Apartheid had been the reason these two
lovers could not be together, which was a reality for many individuals during
that time.

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The
apartheid was an exceptionally difficult time for those who were a part of it,
but thankfully the laws were changed so that segregation was no longer
something that would be experienced in South Africa. However, during the time apartheid
was still in existence, blacks and colored people were being killed and arrested
for protesting and rioting, and the government was organized in such a method
that they were not being treated with equality. During the time of
apartheid, whites viewed themselves as superior to blacks. Whites had privilege—money,
good paying jobs, quality education, and basic human rights. Most colored individuals,
on the other hand, struggled for a living. They wanted freedom, they wanted
rights, they wanted to live life through their own eyes—not run by a bias
government. Crime was a major result of apartheid, in which crime rates are
still wildly high till this day. Crime is often correlated with poor
individuals, and under the circumstances of apartheid, was often seen in neighborhoods
of colored people. The unfair poverty-stricken lifestyle of most colored people
in South Africa had made them more susceptible to becoming a criminal
themselves, as can be seen in Oliver Schmitz’s film: Mapantsula. In this South African film, the main character, Panic,
is a young, black African man whom is portrayed as a gangster. He is poor and
lives a life of crime, where he finds himself in jail. During Panic’s time in
jail, the white police treat him both brutally and insultingly. As the setting switches
between Panic in jail and his life before jail, we see that he gradually begins
to see past his self-interest to the harsh facts of black South African life.
In true renegade spirit, Mapantsula
was made to feel more authentic and less contrived. Portrayed in the film was the
interaction between blacks and whites in street scenes, the day-to-day routine
of life in a black neighborhood, and the galvanizing spirit of black South
African music, which made the film more realistic and were all scenes that were
powerfully felt. Mapantsula was
an insightful film that depicted the reality of crime in apartheid South Africa,
as well as the police brutality conducted by the whites.

The
1980s sparked the fall of Apartheid, where the year 1985 once again allowed mixed
marriages. Apartheid in South Africa officially came to an end in the year 1991,
which became an important date in history. As a result, strict and demeaning
segregation laws were demolished, and racial disparities were weakened. Although
apartheid had officially and lawfully ended, many conflicts have still not been
resolved, and are still heavily seen throughout the country. Moving South
Africa past its apartheid culture had not been easy, as the country still
wrestles with significant racial issues, as well as an unusually
high amount of crime. Areas where people of color were once confined to are
still heavily populated by their descendants. Although, lawfully, segregation has
been removed from both policies and laws, racial discrimination is still very
much present in South Africa.

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