How Apartheid Worked

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Author's Note: How Apartheid Worked

How Apartheid Worked was not, to understate it, an easy article to write. While the policy ended rather abruptly, the circumstances leading up to it spanned more than three centuries, somehow establishing a system of racial oppression that held up so long I clearly remember "End Apartheid" bumper stickers on cars in my hometown.

I would have liked to address more of the global context, as well as some of the particulars of the early master/servant laws that closely resembled those of the slavery and immediate post-slavery periods of the U.S. South -- the separation of black men from white women, for instance, and the legal use of punishments like whipping and food deprivation for petty "offenses."

But Apartheid is a tome, and I made choices, as writers must, many of which I still question. What I produced is, at best, an in-depth overview, and those looking for a complete, detailed map of the path to Apartheid along with its implementation, long-term effects on African culture, resistance leaders and ultimate demise would be well-served to visit South African History Online and South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid, sources I found to be invaluable in my research. In particular, you may want to explore the rise of the Black Consciousness movement, Mandela's leadership of the military arm of the National African Congress and the particulars of South Africa's post-Apartheid constitution.

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