Did You Know…

Hey guys!

So just to recap our meeting from 2 weeks ago I’ll start by giving you a little bit of the background and the history of South Africa that we learned about!

Did you know that within South Africa they speak 11 different languages?! Crazy!

Among the blacks and whites that we know are a part of the country, there are also Indians, Asians, Coloreds, and Afrikaners.  Afrikaners are German, Dutch, and French descendants.  During turn of the 19th century, the Afrikaners were pushed from Cape Town by the British.  While the British settled in Cape Town they were taxing the blacks but they were also dependent on them for labor.  This took place from 1843-1870.

In 1886, the Gold Rush took place which caused the Boer War between the British and the Afrikaners.  During this, the British put the Afrikaners into concentration camps…yep you read that right…concentration camps.  I was completely taken aback by that as I thought that concentration camps were only something that existed during the Holocaust.

Eventually the British and the Afrikaners came to an agreement that the Afrikaners could set up their own state but it would still be under the rule of the British.  After this, the ANC came to fruition.  ANC stands for African National Congress and they worked to get blacks rights.  In 1948 an election took place and to much surprise, the nationalist party (the Afrikaners) won. D.F Malan became Prime Minister.

We then learned who the “Architect of Apartheid” was.  His name was H.F. Verwoerd.  For those who may not know what apartheid means, it is a separation based on race.  In 1950, the Population Registration Act came about which classified and registered people based on their racial characteristics.  Some of these included their skin color, their facial features, and a hair test.  Take a second to think about what the hair test might be….

Okay now I’ll tell you.  Basically with the hair test, they would stick a pencil in your hair and if the pencil fell out it meant you were white and if it stuck in your hair you were considered to be black regardless of your actual skin color.  After hearing this, one of the members in our group, Anthony, decided to try it out for himself, and let’s just say he would have been considered black…which by the way he is most definitely white.  We were able to get a laugh out of that but then I thought about it more after and it just hit me that simply because someone’s hair may be a little thicker than others, they would be told that they are black and most likely treated poorly because of it.

The Group Areas Act of 1950 forced people in urban areas to live with people of the same race.  The Pass Laws Act followed shortly after in 1952 and it required all blacks to carry a “pass book” with them in all white areas.

We then learned about the members of the African National Congress.  It consisted of Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Wlater Sisulu, and Nelson Mandela.  Luthuli was the President of ANC from 1952-1967 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960.  Tambo was a law partner with Mandela, and started an ANC Youth League with Mandela and Sisulu.  Sisulu joined ANC in 1940 and started the ANC Youth League in 1944.  Mandela was born on July 1, 1918 into a royal indigenous family.  He attended British schools and became a lawyer.

In March of 1960, the Sharpeville Massacre happened.  5000-7000 black Africans protested the Pass Law outside of the police station.  The police opened fire and injured 180 people while killing 69 others.  Many of the victims were shot in the back which means they were most likely running away.

In August of 1977, Steve Biko, an activist who said that blacks should be able to do whatever they want like whites, was arrested and beaten.  On September 11th he was taken to the hospital and on the 12th he had died.  It is said that the police killed him.  In 1990, Mandela was released from prison and in 1994 blacks were finally able to vote for President.  Mandela was elected President.  Mandela is now 95 years old and many people in South Africa are starting to worry about what will happen after his death as he has been the one preventing conflicts from occurring and he unified the country.  I, too am interested to see how things will be in South Africa if he is to pass away especially if it happens before we head there.

For the second part of our meeting we discussed our progress in our fundraising!  On November 14th we have reserved a table for Armed and Readi to sell their jewelry and they will be donating 10% of the proceeds to our trip!   We will also have a Midnight Madness Raffle table reserved from October 21’st through the 25th from 10:00 am-4 pm!

Be sure to keep checking in with us! Thanks!


Living Under Apartheid <– Check out this link to see a clip of what it was like living under apartheid!


One Comment on “Did You Know…

  1. Brittany, I find your research on the history and background of South Africa to be very interesting. I honestly did not know much about the culture behind South Africa nor did I know that their are 11 different languages spoken in their country. The most interesting fact to me is the one about the pencil in your hair and determining if you were white or black. It is crazy to me that people actually believed this theory and that your actually skin color did not determine if you were white or black. How can someones hair being thick or thin determine if you were punished or not? It just seems crazy to me.

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