Through these terrifying times, one man rose above all the rest in the effort to combat this terrible practice of apartheid. This man was Nelson Mandela Essay; a man who was so dedicated to the overthrow of apartheid that he was willing to spend twenty-seven years of his live in prison for the cause. Mandela’s rise to the South African presidency, after his release is well documented, but in order to truly understand Mandela, one must examine his life before his prison term, and rise to the presidency. When analyzing Mandela’s life from this point of view, several questions come to the forefront. First of all, what was the extent of the apartheid laws which Mandela and the people of South Africa were facing? Secondly, what tactics did Mandela use to combat this practice of apartheid? Thirdly, what factors played a motivating force in the life of Mandela? And finally, what impact does the life of Nelson Mandela have on the rest of the world? After carefully answering each of these questions, one can easily see that Nelson Mandela was a man shaped by apartheid into a staunch nationalist that served as an example for his people and the world. In understanding Mandela as a nationalist, one must first have an idea of the brutal laws which he faced and dedicated his life to overthrowing.
Apartheid was the policy being used to repress the blacks at the time of Mandela. Encyclopedia of Britannica describes apartheid as, “policy that governed relations between South Africa’s white minority and nonwhite majority and sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against nonwhites” (Britannica web). It is important to note that racial discrimination existed in South Africa since Europeans first came there, however the policy of apartheid was not instituted until after the victory of the National Party in the election of 1948 (Britannica web). Once the National Party gained power, they began their movement towards apartheid in 1950 with the Population Registration Act (Britannica web). With the passing of the act, all South Africans were forced to classify themselves into one of three racial groups: Bantu (black South Africans), Coloured (of mixed dissent), and white (Britannica web). A fourth group to include Asian inhabitants was a later addition to the act (Britannica web).
This demeaning Population Registration Act was the foundation for all of the brutal apartheid laws that were yet to come from the National Party. Once the National Party had all South Africans placed into categories based on their race, they preceded to enact one policy that was particularly devastating to blacks. The name of this policy was the Group Areas Act of 1950. Before discussing the impact of this act, it is important to understand the extent of the majority the blacks had over the whites. Black residents numbered 31. 5 million people, Colorued were 3.
3 million, Asian 1. 2 million, and the whites had only 5. 4 million inhabitants (Geocities web). Now the purpose of the Group Areas Act was to prevent members of certain races from having land, houses, or businesses in particular areas of the country (Britannica web). As a result of this act, the small minority of white citizens was allotted over 80% of South Africa’s land (Britannica web).
By analyzing the numbers presented, it is not difficult to see how this act had a devastating effect on black South Africans. Blacks represent approximately 75% of the population, yet are only able to use less than 20% of the land. As one could imagine, it would be hard for anyone to prosper under those conditions. Besides the Population Registration Act, and the Group Areas Act many other acts were passed to ensure the segregation between blacks and whites.
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