Explain the problematic situation of South African apartheid.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Apartheid was a problematic situation for millions of Africans in South Africa.  Essentially, the South African system of apartheid was a legitimized form of segregation in which the minority of White South Africans was able to control the majority of Black South Africans.  Apartheid consisted of segregation in which Whites were able to relegate Black South Africans.  It also consisted of exploitation in which Blacks worked for Whites with little to no reciprocal compensation.  The final element of this situation involved brutal repression from the White government against people of color.  This repressive element included what amounted to be state sanctioned murder and abuse.  Apartheid consisted of these elements and through them all, the landscape of South Africa became radically altered.  Groups like the African National Congress sought to be a voice for people of color, specifically Black Africans.  Yet, these voices were often marginalized and silenced.  At the same time, individual activists like Steve Biko were imprisoned and left to die in prison after torture because of their actions against Apartheid.  In this landscape, generations of Black South Africans lived and died.  While Apartheid has ended, its legacy will be felt for some time, if nothing else as a stain on the South African historical, social, and political landscape.

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