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Apartheid: a System of Institutionalised Racial Segregation

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In order to make black population decrease their influence in the government, the government tried to restrict resistance groups by banning them and making it illegal to be associated with them. In order to rebel against the unjust laws of apartheid, the black population formed several resistance groups. The most effective groups, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), were made illegal in South Africa.

 However, all these groups wanted was to negotiate a peace treaty between the government because they believed they were equal human beings with full citizenship rights. The government tried to stop the Defiance Campaign, the ANC combined with multiple other groups, it banned its leaders and passed new laws to prevent public disobedience. However, the campaign had already made huge gains, which included the formation of a new South Africa Colored Peoples’ Organization and the Congress of Democrats, an organization of white democrats. 

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These organizations, together with the South African Congress of Trade Unions, formed the Congress Alliance. The Congress Alliance wanted the people to govern and for the land to be shared by those who worked it. It called for houses, work, security, and free and equal education. They drew up these demands into the Freedom Charter, which was adopted at the Congress of the People at Kliptown on June 26, 1955. 

The government claimed that the Freedom Charter was a communist document and arrested ANC and Congress Alliance leaders and brought them to trial in the famous Treason Trial. The government tried to prove that the ANC and its allies had a policy of violence and planned to overthrow the state. Since the government did not accept the Freedom Charter, the people had no way to voice their opinions and tell the government the change they wanted to see. 

The black population’s peaceful attempts at reform were crushed, and they were arrested. Thus, the ANC’s insistence on nonviolence aggravated many of its members so they broke away in 1959 to form another group, the Pan-Africanist Congress. In 1960, many black protestors engaged in a confrontation with the police that triggered violent riots throughout Cape Town. During this clash, police killed sixty-seven blacks and injured hundreds more. Then, the government banned both the Pan-Africanist Congress and the ANC, and they arrested as many members as they could find.

Consequently, the ANC decided to launch a terrorist campaign against the government, an action that resulted in the arrest of many of its leaders. Nonetheless the ANC, and the Pan-Africanist Congress as well, continued to engage in violent protests and guerrilla attacks, as did other blacks in the country, and in 1984 riots spread throughout South Africa (Korieh). The government continued to arrest black participants in the activist groups, which made the black population extremely furious and encouraged them to keep fighting.

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