OTHER WORDS FROM apartheidan·ti·a·part·heid, noun, adjective
Words nearby apartheid
ABOUT THIS WORD
What is Apartheid?
Apartheid became the official policy of South Africa in 1948 (though racist segregation policies had been employed before that). It was officially in place until the early 1990s, when it was begun to be dismantled after decades of resistance from Black and other nonwhite South Africans—notably Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko, among many others—and sanctions and pressure from the international community.
Apartheid, spelled with a capital A, is most commonly used to refer specifically to South African Apartheid. The lowercase form, apartheid, is used in a more general way to refer to any system that segregates people based on certain characteristics, such as skin color, ethnicity, or caste.
Where does apartheid come from?
The first records of the word apartheid in English come from the 1940s. It’s an Afrikaans word in which the suffix -heid means -hood, as in a state or condition. In this way, apartheid basically means “apartness” or “the state of being apart.” It can be interpreted as meaning “separation” or “segregation.”
Racist segregation policies had been used in South Africa since at least the early 1900s. In the years before the establishment of the white supremacist system that became known as Apartheid, white leaders had systematically denied voting rights to Black and other people of color, including indigenous Black South Africans and people with Indian and Pakistani heritage—the descendants of people brought to South Africa (often forcibly) to be enslaved or work as indentured laborers.
Apartheid is often said to have officially begun following the 1948 election win of the all-white National Party, whose members primarily consisted of the group known as Afrikaners (white South Africans of Dutch descent).
The party, which used the word apartheid as a campaign slogan, immediately began to enforce existing racist segregation policies and to implement new ones intended to consolidate the power of whites and limit the rights of nonwhites.
Apartheid operated by classifying people according to their skin color and tribe and then segregating them and denying certain rights according to that classification. The policy was meant to separate the white population from the nonwhite population and to further segregate and divide the nonwhite population.
Under Apartheid, many Black South African and other people of color were evicted from their land and forced to relocate to segregated reserves, after which white South Africans settled on their land or used it for farms, eventually gaining a large majority of the land (despite being a minority of the population). In 1959, the South African government introduced areas known as Bantustans or homelands, where Black people were forced to live according to their ethnic group. Under Apartheid, Bantu was the name used for all Black people (despite the fact that not all Black South Africans were members of the Bantu ethnic group). People considered to be of mixed race were labeled as Coloured and those of Indian and Pakistani descent were grouped into a category labeled Asian.
Apartheid involved economic, political, educational, and other forms of oppression that restricted or denied the access of nonwhite people to resources and power. People of color were required to use public facilities separate from those used by white people and to carry documents specifying whether they were allowed in certain areas. Laws made it illegal to marry or have children with a person classified as being of another race. The rights of people of color to unionize or participate in government were limited or denied. Certain groups were limited to certain jobs and were restricted from operating businesses in certain areas
The anti-Apartheid movement led by Black and other South Africans of color gained international attention in the wake of several events in the second half of the 20th century. In 1960, police violently suppressed protests in Sharpeville, shooting and killing 69 protesters and wounding many more. Later in the 1960s, Nelson Mandela and other anti-Apartheid activists were imprisoned, with Mandela being sentenced to life. In 1976, Black South Africans in Soweto protested the mandating of the Afrikaans language for Black schoolchildren. In 1977, activist and politician Steve Biko died from being tortured and beaten by police. In 1985, on the 25th anniversary of what became known as the Sharpeville Massacre, police opened fire on protesters in Langa, killing 35.
The explicitly racist policies of Apartheid South Africa drew international condemnation, and apartheid was officially declared as a crime under international law by the United Nations in 1973. The U.S. and the U.K. imposed economic sanctions on South Africa in 1985.
After decades of resistance and international pressure, the South African system of Apartheid started to be dismantled in the early 1990s. Mandela, a leader in the political party known as the African National Congress (ANC), which fought against Apartheid, was freed in 1990. Mandela worked with South African President F.W. de Klerk (whose government had begun to repeal many Apartheid policies) to draft a new constitution in 1993. Mandela succeeded de Klerk in 1994, becoming South Africa’s first Black president.
The new constitution provided new rights to Black South Africans and other people of color. However, the legacy of Apartheid and its unjust policies left a lasting impact on South African society, and citizens and activists continue to seek reforms and changes to improve equality and justice.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to apartheid?
What are some words that share a root or word element with apartheid?
What are some words that often get used in discussing apartheid?
How else is apartheid used?
The word apartheid is sometimes applied to specific situations considered by some to produce systemic inequality or even literal segregation.
The word has been increasingly used by critics of the Israeli government to suggest that Israeli policies toward Palestinians are similar or identical to the kind of racist and ethnic segregation employed in the South African system of Apartheid, including in aspects like forcible removal from land, restriction of movement, and denial of rights and access to resources and political and economic power.
Application of the term to Israeli policies is controversial, with some arguing that use of the word apartheid is inaccurate or inappropriate.
Another recent use of the word apartheid is in the phrase vaccine apartheid, which is used in a critical way to refer to the unequal global distribution of and access to the COVID-19 vaccine. In this case, the word apartheid refers to the stockpiling of the vaccine supply by wealthy Western nations (often those with a white majority, like the U.S. and the U.K.), resulting in reduced access by poorer nations (often those in which a majority of the population are people of color). This marks a much more general use of the word apartheid that suggests a state of inequity or injustice rather than implying a system of physical segregation of people.
How is apartheid used in real life?
When spelled with a capital A, the word Apartheid most commonly refers to the official system of racist segregation in South African during the second half of the 20th century. The lowercase apartheid is used in more general ways to refer to situations in which people are segregated based on things like skin color and ethnicity, or systems that produce stark inequality or injustice.
Apartheid ended in 1994, but significant barriers for Black scientists in South Africa remain. Via @NatureNews https://t.co/5zhKRUvP1p
— The Scientist (@TheScientistLLC) May 20, 2021
‘Since words as specific as ‘apartheid’ or ‘colonialism’ are still considered ‘explosive’ when used to describe Israel, these descriptors have typically entered articles through the voices of non-governmental organisations and organisers or activists.’ https://t.co/JsWOdd3VXc
— Marlon Ariyasinghe (@exfrotezter) May 30, 2021
BREAKING: With a $25 billion investment, we can produce enough vaccine doses to vaccinate the world in one year. We have the power to end the global vaccine apartheid.
Inaction is a policy choice. https://t.co/9BuStDwtxU
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) May 27, 2021
How to use apartheid in a sentence
There’s lots of arguments whether it’s occupation or not, whether it’s apartheid or not.“Everyone is impressed by Israeli vaccination, but I don’t think we’re a success story”|Lindsay Muscato|January 22, 2021|MIT Technology Review
The country’s apartheid government had just packed the six-member body with five new judges in order to overcome its liberal wing.
The National Party wouldn’t fall out of power until 1994, when Nelson Mandela led his party to victory after the end of apartheid.
Despite being the senior justice of the court, he was twice passed over for the role of chief justice by the apartheid government — a politicized decision Davis compares to “replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a hack.”
This investor-driven effort, as part of a broader boycott, ultimately helped end apartheid in South Africa.To fight systemic racism, the investment industry needs to look at its whiteness first|jakemeth|September 10, 2020|Fortune
Before Fidel, when segregation was in full swing, the Cuban apartheid meant many clubs and parks still refused black Cubans entry.The Life and Hard Times Of The Family A Cuban Defector Left Behind|Brin-Jonathan Butler|December 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The more violent aspect of the anti-apartheid movement was, safe to say, largely lost on Occidental College protestors.
Unsurprisingly, the thuggish Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was among the first, along with then-apartheid South Africa.
Israel is not a perfect state, but it is nothing like apartheid South Africa, says a writer who has lived in both countries.
In Britain, bans on same-sex marriages were described as “a form of sexual apartheid.”