In 1685, a law in the Cape Colony forbade marriage between Europeans and Africans, although it did permit Europeans and mixed race people to marry. Back in the 1850's, the missionary and traveler
David Livingstone , noticed the Afrikaner obsession with race. He wrote:
"The great objection many of the Boers had and still have to English law is that it makes no distinction between black men and white. They felt aggrieved by their supposed losses in the emancipation for their Hottentot slaves, and determined to erect themselves into a republic, in which they might pursue without molestation, the 'proper treatment of the blacks.'
It is almost needless to add that the 'proper treatment' has always contained in it the essential element of slavery, namely, compulsory unpaid labour. " - Extract from David Livingstone's Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa.
In 1853, a franchise was established in the Cape, determined by a person's wealth, but not restricted in any way by race; as long as you were rich enough, you could vote whether black, white or mixed race.
In the run up to the creation of the Union of South Africa, the Cape Colony was alone in sending delegates who weren't European to the constitutional conference. But the Afrikaners were determined to deprive Africans and people of African ancestry of political power.
Around the same time, segregation began to be introduced into the mines so that Africans were barred from taking jobs involving any skilled labour.
A large number of laws were passed to establish the apartheid structure of government. The three most important blocks of legislation were:
The strange world of racial classification
Every year, people were reclassified racially. In 1984, for example:
Vic Wilkinson's case is significant. He was originally classified mixed race. Later he was defined as White. But the process of classification did not end there. He was also classified as Coloured, went back to being registered White, and conclusively became Coloured in 1984.
Interestingly the word 'African' was never used by the authorities. The problem was it translated back in the Boer language into the word Afrikaner, which was the very name the white Dutch descendants called themselves. Africans were referred to by white officialdom as black or Bantu.
The role of the church
In 1957, the Native Laws Amendment Act contained a 'Church Clause' which allowed Africans to be barred from a service if they were considered to be 'causing a nuisance'.
In the 1950s, Drum magazine began investigating the day to day realities of apartheid. Can Themba, one of their top writers, took on the churches setting himself the task of visiting a number of different ones, with white congregations, to see what kind of reception he would get.
Turned away from the house of God
At the Kensington DRC (Dutch Reform Church), an aged church official was just about to close the doors when he saw me. He bellowed in Afrikaans: 'Wat soek jy?' (What do you want?) 'I've come to church,' I said. He shoved me violently, shouting for me to get away. I walked off dejected.
A few doors away was the Baptist Church, and as I walked towards it I began to think that people didn't want me to share their church. As I walked through the Baptist door I was tense, waiting for that tap on the shoulder... but instead I was given a hymn book and welcomed into the church. I sat through the service. This up and down treatment wasn't doing my nerves much good." - From anthology of works of Can Themba, entitled The Will to Die.
Apartheid also affected the world of beauty pageants. Whites were chosen as representatives of the South African peoples:
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