South Africa

Growing up in America, a child of the 1950s and ’60s, I was  born and raised on the south side of Chicago. My understanding of racism and caste was formed through living in that ethnically divided city, a reflection of both institutional and informal policies based on complexion.  The south side of Chicago was, in its own way, a form of apartheid.

Apartheid: any system or practice that separates people according to color, ethnicity, caste, etc…it is from Afrikaans and literally means ‘separateness’ from Dutch apart (separate) + heid (equivalent of -hood).  The word was introduced in the 1940s.

Apartheid was a political and social system in South Africa during white minority rule. In use in the 20th Century from 1948 to 1994, apartheid was stricter and more systematic than racial segregation that had been used for centuries. The system forced the people of South Africa to be divided by their race and the races forced to live apart from each other.

By separating the people into small independent nations, the white governing rule of Afrikaaners kept the majority of South Africa’s land for white people particularly the richest places such as gold and diamond mines. It forced black men who worked in the mines for very little money to live far away from their families.