Why was apartheid implemented in South Africa?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Apartheid was put into place in South Africa for the purpose of control.  It became evident that with the heterogeneous mixture of cultures in South Africa, White South Africans were a minority.  The fear of many Whites in South Africa was that they would be overrun and outnumbered by South Africans of color.  It is here where the policy of apartheid was adopted as a measure of control and means of consolidating their own power.  In the 1948 elections, the National Party saw the opportunity of using apartheid as part of a politics rooted in "racial scare."  In doing so, apartheid proved to be an effective political wedge that was embraced in the form of popular vote in the national elections.

Historically, apartheid had its roots in the beliefs of Europeans who settled into South Africa.  Lord Henry de Villiers described the social condition of South Africa as one that lent itself to embracing apartheid:

As a matter of public history we know that the first civilized legislators in South Africa came from Holland and regarded the aboriginal natives of the country as belonging to an inferior race, whom the Dutch, as Europeans, were entitled to rule over, and whom they refused to admit to social or political equality.

In the idea of refusing "to admit to social or political equality," the reality of apartheid became evident.  Apartheid enabled people of European lineage who lived in South Africa to maintain power over the indigenous people of South Africa.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial