What are some questions that I could ask in an interview with someone [not white], regarding the Separate Amenities Act during apartheid?

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nanmarc eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The previously suggested questions are wonderful ideas that you may wish to include when interviewing someone who experienced the indignities of apartheid. If you have not experienced systemic oppression firsthand, one suggestion I will add is to focus on questions regarding how injustice affects a person's spirit, as well as how past injustices can impact one's future. Historical facts about apartheid can be obtained from a variety of sources, but if you are given the opportunity to discuss this chilling topic with someone who has lived through the indignity, targeting its personal effects with likely result in wisdom and insight that cannot be gained from textbooks. Here are some suggestions for possible questions:

  • Looking back on this period of time, what are your clearest memories regarding injustice brought about by the Separate Amenities Act?
  • How did the Separate Amenities Act affect your everyday life, your spirit, and your plans for the future?
  • How do you think your life might be different now if apartheid had never been present? How has the injustice of that time period affected your life since then?
  • Do you think the repeal of the Separate Amenities Act righted the wrongs that were made during those decades, or do you think there is still work to be done? How can we do better?
  • How do you think the past history of apartheid has affected the present social and political climate in South Africa?
  • What wisdom did you gain while undergoing the oppression created by the Separate Amenities Act? What advice do you have for those who are currently experiencing systemic injustice?

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Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, passed in South Africa in 1953, legalized segregation based on race in public spaces, vehicles, and services. The facilities for non-whites did not have to equal to those enjoyed by whites. The law was appealed in 1990. 

When interviewing someone who lived during this period of apartheid in South Africa, you might want to ask the person the following:

  • How did the act affect you? Was it different than the situation that came beforehand?
  • What were the most dangerous ways this act affected you...

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