According to Trevor Noah in Born a Crime, how did apartheid come about?

According to Trevor Noah in Born a Crime, apartheid came about when the Herenigde Nasionale Party (HNP) used white fear of the Black majority to win power in 1948 and then used that power to divide and rule, setting the ethnic groups in South Africa against one another.

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In Born a Crime,Trevor Noah describes the apartheid policy of the South African government from 1948 until the 1990s as a lethal combination of slavery, segregation, and displacement, adding,

The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate,...

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In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah describes the apartheid policy of the South African government from 1948 until the 1990s as a lethal combination of slavery, segregation, and displacement, adding,

The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate, is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all.

The 1948 elections in South Africa were won by the Herenigde Nasionale Party (HNP). The HNP leaders realized that many white voters were intimidated by the size of the Black majority and afraid of losing their economically and socially privileged position. The HNP exploited these fears with racist campaigning to secure power, and then introduced the policy of apartheid, which, according to Noah, was a way to divide and rule the various groups within South Africa.

Under apartheid, South African society was divided into White, Black, Colored, and Indian people. Although the Black group was larger than the other three combined, these social divisions focused, and were intended to focus, South Africans on attacking one another rather than their government. Noah emphasizes this element of social division and has compared United States politics, particularly in the Trump era, with the division he witnessed as a child in South Africa, stating,

Instead of speaking in measured tones about what unites us, we are screaming at each other about what divides us—which is exactly what authoritarian figures like Mr. Trump want: divided people are easier to rule. That was, after all, the whole point of apartheid.

Apartheid, Noah says, is the type of policy that politicians are best able to implement when voters are divided and fearful of one another. Once implemented, it entrenches and increases this division.

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