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We don't want apartheid liberalised. We want it dismantled. You can't improve something that is intrinsically evil. ~ Desmond Tutu
Apartheid, a malevolent and archaic system totally alien to our ideals. ~ Ronald Reagan

Apartheid (an Afrikaans word meaning apart-ness) was a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government of South Africa between 1948 and 1994. Also called "separate development," apartheid curtailed the rights of the majority "non-white" inhabitants of South Africa and maintained minority rule by white people. The government of South Africa also practised the same policies of racial separation while occupying South-West Africa, known after 1966 as Namibia. From 1970, black people were deprived of their citizenship, legally becoming citizens of tribally-based self-governing homelands called bantustans, four of which became nominally independent states.


  • American society as a whole seemed committed to the idea of the races living together on an equal basis. This was something few South Africans, white or black, had actually seen. Nconganwe had trouble accepting that it actually existed. In African culture, the family and extended family were everything. Loyalty to one's clan was far more important than any feeling of nationhood. America had forged her own borders. South Africa’s had been drawn by European colonists, with no thought to the peoples already living there. ... South Africans had little experience with the idea of political dialogue. Any difference of opinion in this bloody land was cause for violence... [W]hat nation should the Xhosas or Zulus feel allegiance to? The government was the enemy and the South African nation was a collection of peoples kept deliberately apart. There was no concept of the “melting pot” or a pluralistic society. That much of apartheid had taken root.
  • South Africa has witnessed the replacement of racial apartheid for what can be accurately described as "class apartheid."
    • Patrick Bond, South Africa and Global Apartheid: Continental and International Policies (2003), p. 8
  • The people who are opposing the policy of apartheid have not the courage of their convictions. They do not marry non-Europeans.
    • P. W. Botha as MP of George, House of Assembly, 7 September 1948, cited in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 251.
  • I am one of those who believe that there is no permanent home for even a section of the Bantu in the white area of South Africa and the destiny of South Africa depends on this essential point. If the principle of permanent residence for the black man in the area of the white is accepted then it is the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it in this country.
    • P. W. Botha speaking to parliament on 11 May 1964 as Minister for Coloured Affairs, as cited in The Guardian 7 February 2006.
  • There is not an Indian community in the world that is better off than the Indians in South Africa. That is the type of apartheid that I stand for. That is the type of apartheid that is not dead.
    • P. W. Botha as prime minister in the House of Assembly, 23 April 1979, cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 40
  • I am sick and tired of the hollow parrot-cry of “Apartheid!” I’ve said many times that the word “Apartheid” means good neighbourliness.
    • P. W. Botha cited in Country of My Skull, Antjie Krog, Random House, p. 270.
  • Our enemies latched unto the word "apartheid" and in a very sly manner transformed it into the strongest weapon in the onslaught against freedom and civilization in our country.
    • P. W. Botha as state president at a parade of the SA Police College, Pretoria, 20 June 1986, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 37
  • Because you could not translate the word apartheid into the more universal language of English, the wrong connotation was given to it.
    • P. W. Botha cited in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 22.
  • The anti-apartheid movement in the '80s... he (Howard Zinn) was there. ...He put everything there, because he cared very deeply that these things were wrong -- that apartheid was wrong... that was the early '80s, and there were people who didn't really think it was so bad. That's the thing. A lot of times we look back and we remember how radical it was to confront apartheid. Now, everyone looks back and knows it was wrong... That's why dissent is so important, because it creates an atmosphere in which people can explore alternative ways of thinking. That's something I took from Howard. That's what Howard taught. That's why he still matters.
  • During those years color seemed too sweet a medium to express the anger, disgust and fear that apartheid inspired, ...
  • [Apartheid law in South Africa] appears to be a clear and even extreme instance of that discrimination between different individuals which seems to me to be incompatible with the reign of liberty. The essence of what I said [in The Constitution of Liberty] was really the fact that the laws under which government can use coercion are equal for all responsible adult members of that society. Any kind of discrimination — be it on grounds of religion, political opinion, race, or whatever it is — seems to be incompatible with the idea of freedom under the law. Experience has shown that separate never is equal and cannot be equal.
    • Friedrich Hayek, "Conversation with Systematic Liberalism," Forum (September 1961).
  • I grew up with two inheritances — the ability to speak and write and fight in the English language, on the one hand, and a deep suspicion of the English as racial hypocrites whose liberal pretence helped them escape the harsher criticism of apartheid reserved for white Afrikaans speakers, on the other. … But while Afrikaans has, rightly, been the target of political ridicule, English and the English continue to labour under what political studies professor Herman Giliomee famously called “the illusion of innocence”.
  • Apartheid in South Africa is nothing but fascism. It was gaining roots from the early period of white colonization in the seventeenth century, and particularly after the mining industry brought South Africa fully into the capitalist orbit in the nineteenth century.
  • Although white businessmen and developers are guilty of some unfair treatment of blacks, they turned South Africa into a modern industrialized nation, which the poor, uneducated blacks couldn't have accomplished in several more decades. If more blacks were suddenly given control of the nation, its economy and business, as Mandela wished, they could have destroyed what they have waited and worked so hard for.
    • Social Studies PACE 1086, Accelerated Christian Education, 1990 , quoted in David Dent (4 April 1993), "A Mixed Message in Black Schools", New York Times Education Supplement: 28 
  • If we consider what Merton College and what the Oxford School of English owes to the Antipodes, to the Southern Hemisphere, especially to scholars born in Australia and New Zealand, it may well be felt that it is only just that one of them should now ascend an Oxford chair of English. Indeed, it may be thought that justice has been delayed since 1925. There are of course other lands under the Southern Cross. I was born in one; though I do not claim to be the most learned of those who have come hither from the far end of the Dark Continent. But I have the hatred of apartheid in my bones; and most of all, I detest the segregation or separation of Language and Literature. I do not care which of them you think White.
    • J.R.R. Tolkien, "Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford," June 5, 1959, reprinted in Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Monsters and the Critics, London: Harper Collins (2006), p. 238. ISBN 026110263X A native of South Africa, Tolkien had been a professor at Oxford since 1925. Earlier in his address he explained his objection to what he considered the "false" separation of "Language" and "Literature" in the study of English.
  • We don't want apartheid liberalised. We want it dismantled. You can't improve something that is intrinsically evil.
    • Bishop Desmond Tutu, speech, 1985.Quoted in Equality, Volume 1, Issue 1, 1989
  • Apartheid means: ‘something of your own’; ...separate development means the kind of growth which one creates by means of own power and for the sake of yourself and your people.
    • H. F. Verwoerd in 1963, as quoted and translated by J. J. Venter in H.F. Verwoerd: Foundational aspects of his thought, Koers 64(4) 1999:415-442
  • Israel is not consistent in its new anti-apartheid attitude... they took Israel away from the Arabs after the Arabs lived there for a thousand years. In that, I agree with them. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.
    • H. F. Verwoerd, as quoted in The Empire's New Walls: Sovereignty, Neo-liberalism, and the Production of Space in Post-apartheid South Africa and Post-Oslo Palestine/Israel, by Andrew James Clarno, 2009. pp. 66–67
  • ... the policy of separate development [i.e. apartheid] can be tested by any unprejudiced person against the requirements of Christianity and morality, and it will be found to meet all those requirements.
  • [D]oes legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; apartheid is legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes.
  • This odious doctrine of apartheid at 11-plus. ... We reject it because as a nation we cannot afford artificially to segregate three-quarters of our children, and virtually cut them off from the normal chance of higher education.
    • Harold Wilson, Speech to the Association of Principals of Technical Institutions in London (19 February 1964), quoted in The Times (20 February 1964), p. 5
  • The whole ethos of apartheid is man's inability to live peacefully with people of another race, unless the races are divided into their own homelands. Simonstown not only was a living witness that this could happen, but it had been happening for over one hundred and fifty years. It was a living reproach to the rest of South Africa, a scandal in our midst, a blight which had to be got rid of. The majority of the Coloured people were swept from their homes to a township where they will live alone. This township with the ominous name of Slangkop is situated in the wind raked sand dunes on the isolated slopes nine miles from Simonstown. A sad and gaunt air hangs like the driven sand over the place. The pleas and the wishes of the Coloured population went unheeded. Separate development decreed otherwise.

External links[edit]

  • Encyclopedic article on Apartheid on Wikipedia
  • The dictionary definition of apartheid on Wiktionary
  • Media related to Apartheid on Wikimedia Commons