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How did the Group Areas Act of 1950 affect people's lives, and how did they respond to this?

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The Group Areas Act, passed by the apartheid government of South Africa in 1950, restricted blacks and whites to separate areas within cities or urban regions. Black and white people were segregated to different business and residential districts in urban areas. The surface rationale was that apartheid would ensure peaceful coexistence between the races. The real rationale was to crush the black majority.

For instance, the most developed areas with the best infrastructure were designated white. Further, black people were often forced to live in more peripheral areas, meaning that they often had to travel long distances to work. To make matters worse, black people, though the majority of the population, were crowded into smaller areas than the minority whites, and had to carry passbooks to enter white areas. All of this was meant to reinforce the idea white supremacy.

In addition, children attended segregated schools, and black children were taught in Afrikaans rather than English in an attempt to form them into a permanent underclass.

Black citizens suffered under this legislation. They were often forcibly displaced from their homes and forced to live in areas with very poor infrastructure. The response was anti-apartheid organizing. For two decades, the government was able to control and repress the dissent, but by the 1970s, widespread violence and protesting erupted. The government's brutal suppression tactics ultimately were not effective, and by 1978, the white government was trying to institute reforms, but it was too little, too late. Apartheid ended in 1990.

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