What does Apartheid Stand for?

Apartheid is racial segregation system that existed in South Africa until 1994, which consisted of the exclusion of the majority of the population by a white minority.

Although South Africa already had high levels of segregation towards the black population, because of its colonial history, it was not until 1948, when it would officially enter the legislation, that apartheid would be established as such.

The word apartheid, as such, comes from Afrikaans, a Germanic language derived from Dutch (spoken mainly in South Africa and Namibia), and means ‘separation’.

Hence the apartheid consisted mainly in the separation of different racial groups. Thus, for example, depending on skin color, different places were designated for living, studying or recreating.

In addition, people were classified according to their race, appearance, ancestry or social acceptance, depending on which they enjoyed certain advantages or not.

Likewise, the black or other ethnic population, such as Indians, lacked certain social rights, such as the possibility of voting.

Whites, who accounted for a 21% minority within the country, held political and economic power, and protected, through this system, their privileges.

The supposed objective of apartheid was to achieve, thanks to the separation of different racial groups, progress.

The apartheid, however, came as a result of resistance movements between segregated groups, demanding equal civil rights. Its emblematic leader was Nelson Mandela.

The end of apartheid is usually signaled in 1994, with the rise of Nelson Mandela to power and the policies of racial reconciliation carried out by him.

Today, apartheid is considered by international law as a crime against humanity and is recognized in all political regimes that incur the systematic and institutionalized practice of oppression to maintain the dominance of one racial group over another or others.