This guide will help you work with the topic of apartheid. The guide is mainly intended for use in English class, but it may also be relevant for other school subjects such as History or Social Studies. 

The guide is designed to give you a good overview of the apartheid era in South Africa. You can also find suggestions for specific texts that you can use as references when working with apartheid, as well as ideas for putting the topic into perspective. 


Starting around 1950, the government of South Africa adopted a number of laws which introduced forced segregation between people belonging to different ethnic groups. In practice, this meant that non-white South Africans - a majority of the population - were forced to live in separate areas and use separate public institutions. Even marriages and relationships between people of different ethnicities were outlawed. All of these laws had terrible human consequences, as people were forced away from their homes and families were torn apart.

Despite protests from the population and international pressure, apartheid remained in effect for decades. In 1991, the government finally agreed to begin the process of gradually abolishing the apartheid rule and replacing it with a democratic system. The resistance leader Nelson Mandela had an enormous impact on this development. As head of the political party ANC (African National Congress), he made the plans for transitioning into democracy alongside current President F.W. de Klerk. In 1994, Mandela was elected President of the newly free and democratic South Africa.  

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