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Apartheid & South Africa's Economy

South Africa's economy was robust during the Second World War because of the allies need for raw materials from South Africa. In 1948, a postwar economic contraction brought white unemployment. This sent shockwaves through the white community, particularly among white South Africans in the lowest economic strata who feared that companies would replace them with lower wage earning Black workers. This resulted in a knee jerk reaction among the all-white electorate. According to Stephen Lewis, this reaction resulted in the surprise election victory in 1948 of the National Party. The National Party espoused radical reforms intended to bolster white control over the economy and help ensure full employment for white South Africans. This National Party remained in power for more than forty years (Lewis, 13).

The National Party promised to implement apartheid, a comprehensive set of policies that would help ensure economic prosperity for whites through a policy of separate development for black and 'colored' residents of South Africa. The ruthlessness manner in which the National Party enforced apartheid is infamous. For example, the Group Areas Act passed in 1950 determined where the various races could reside. The Population Registration Act, also passed in 1950 gave the government the absolute right to determine the racial classification of its citizens. In combination with the Pass Laws, the Population Registration Act regulated internal travel. Alex Boraine writing in A Country Unmasked comments that the Population Registration Act was a deceptively simple law used by the National Party to make fundamental determinations about the future course of the lives of residents of South Africa. He asks readers to remember that apartheid laws determined voting rights, as well as access to land, housing, health care, education, transportation, sporting events, hotels, travel, and even cemeteries (Boraine, 175).

According to Stephen L...

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Apartheid & South Africa's Economy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:28, February 18, 2019, from