Apartheid Laws and their Effects in South Africa

On this page we discuss the apartheid laws and their effects or the impact it brought to South Africans. Translated from the Afrikaans meaning ‘apartness’, apartheid was the ideology supported by the National Party (NP) government and was introduced in South Africa in 1948. Apartheid called for the separate development of the different racial groups in South Africa. 

Watch Video: South African History 1948-1994

South African History 1948-1994

List of Apartheid Laws and their Effects (Impact)

Natives Land Act of 19

  • Intention: this law was passed in order to set aside about 13% of South Africa’s land for the “Native population.”  
  • Effects: prohibited blacks from buying, renting, or using land anywhere outside of the areas that were set aside for them.

Native Administration Act of 1927

  • Intention: allowed for proclamations to be used to administer black areas, instead of acts of parliament.
  • Effects: This act gave birth to Apartheid

The Suppression of Communism Act of 1950

  • Intention: to define communism as any doctrine or scheme that was aimed to bring about political change through unlawful acts or the threat of unlawful acts.
  • Effects: the act gave the government broad powers to arrest or detain anyone who was suspected of being a communist–it essentially gave them the power to harass anyone who was actively working against the Apartheid way of life.

The Population Registration Act, of 1950

  • Intention: required all residents of South Africa to be classified as coloured (European and African mixed or Asian), native (Bantu people), or white.
  • Effects: Identity cards were issued and a registry for the entire country was initiated.

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, of 1949

  • Intention: to prevant marriages of mixed race couples.
  • Effects: made it illegal for blacks and whites to marry

The Immorality Act of 1950

  • Intention: to prohibit sexual relations between whites and non-whites
  • Effects: many mixed-race couples were jailed. Mixed-race kids were hidden

The Bantu Authorities Act, of 1951

  • Intention: to set up government-appointed leaders and authorities in regional, tribal, and territorial areas where blacks were forced to live.
  • Effects: segregation of black people based on clans and languages.

The Bantu Education Act, of 1953

  • Intention: to further formalise the subpar education that Africans were forced to receive.
  • Effects: poor education for blacks which made them incompetent to hold professional and managerial positions.

The Group Areas Act, of 1950

  • Intention: to designate specific areas of the country for blacks and whites.
  • Effects: the government could forcibly move black people to an area set aside for them, and it did so, with guns and with force.




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