Between the 1950's and 1970's, the lives of Africans were changed greatly by the policy of Apartheid. Apartheid laws affected the social lives of Africans by limiting whom they could marry or have relationships with, where they lived, and the conditions of their homes. Apartheid laws aimed to keep the white race 'pure' and to separate the ethnic groups. The 'Group Areas Act' (1950) separated blacks, coloured's and whites into distinct areas. It sought to keep blacks inferior and place them into sub-standard areas. In order to separate the races, the Government needed to know the race to which people belonged.
To do this, the 'Population Registration Act' was introduced in the same year. This law categorised different races so that they could be separated into different locations. One crude test to determine races was to look behind the ears to assess skin colour; and place a pencil into the hair of someone. If the pencil stayed in place, the person was classed as a black; however, if the pencil fell, then the person was classed as coloured. This test was clearly unjust and did not determine the race of someone. Despite this, the Government continued to use these methods just so whites and non-whites could remain separated.
The Group Areas Act was unsuccessful so the 'Bantu Self-Government Act' was brought in in 1959. This act separated blacks into homelands - showing that the other acts imposed were non-effective; and also that the Government were very serious about distinguishing between races. The Government forced the blacks out of their areas, such as the major city of Johannesburg, which was growing - with white areas encroaching upon traditional black areas. Blacks made no resistance as police were brought in - realising that whatever actions they took would be hit with an "iron hand" (Nelson Mandela, 1995). These areas were generally infertile and small; and blacks soon became overcrowded.
As a major aim of Apartheid was to keep the white race pure, the 'Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act' (1949) prevented marriages between whites and non-whites. This invaded the personal and private lives of blacks and prevented them from enjoying the freedom they would have hoped for. The 'Immorality Amendment Act' of 1950 linked with the above law, as it banned sex between whites and non-whites - giving blacks less freedom of choice. The police invaded the privacy of blacks by shining torch-light into parked cars and entering people's homes without warning or permission. Despite this, sexual relationships between whites and non-whites continued.
One of the most unpleasant aspects of Apartheid was the daily harassment of blacks by the police to check their pass books which were introduced in 1953. Blacks had to carry large pass books and if they were found not to have them with them, they would be immediately taken to jail. Whites had a much smaller identification card; and if they were found without it, they would have seven whole days to show it to an officer without being arrested. This illustrates just how closely blacks were guarded and controlled.
The 'Suppression of Communism Act' of 1950 also aimed to control blacks. It banned supporters of Communism and anyone defying Apartheid laws. Apartheid also altered the education available to black Africans - with the introduction of different syllabuses and separate schools. The black schools were inferior to white schools; and they were granted less equipment and little money to repair buildings or furniture.
Black students spoke a different language to the whites, resulting in limited opportunities for blacks in the job market. Thus, earning a decent wage became nearly impossible. The teachers were also paid less and had to alter what was taught; for example, blacks were taught that whites had always been superior and that blacks would need to yield to this so-called white superiority. Blacks also had to use different facilities and services.
Benches, swimming pools and restaurants were just some of the separate services blacks had to use. This act re-enforced the superiority of the whites through the enhanced amenities available to them and their race. In conclusion, since 1950, blacks have been forced out of their homes and moved away to inferior areas; their social lives have been severely affected by the prohibition of relationships or marriage with white people. They have had an altered education re-in forcing this sense of inferiority.
As a result, many have been denied opportunities and privileges as many laws have forbidden them undertaking skilled work or learning the languages of whites. Blacks have been expected to accept social inferiority; however, many blacks did not give up for what they believed in. Over the next twenty years, black treatment gradually improved and the Government discontinued the policy of Apartheid.