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Sample Essay on Apartheid Timeline

Apartheid Timeline

May 1948

After the general election of 1948, apartheid begins. The National Party in order to get votes from White Africans promises to make laws that prohibit the rights of black people once they win the election. The National Party wins after defeating the United Party marking the start of apartheid. The apartheid system is officially launched thus restricting the freedom enjoyed by Black Africans.

June 1952

African National Congress begins the defiance campaign with volunteers beginning a peaceful resistance to the system b y breaking those laws they consider wrong. The protests include black people being out in the city after curfew hours and others sitting on benches clearly marked for whites. The first legal firm for blacks in SA is opened by Tambo and Nelson Mandela.


Bantu education act, which was a law separating the education system for the whites and blacks is created. Blacks get trained to prepare to become part of the working class as they are not expected or allowed to do anything beyond this.

December 1956-Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist gets arrested along side others for fighting against apartheid. He gets charged with treason but after a 4 year trial, he is not found guilty of any crime.


Separate homelands get created for major black groups. At the time, the government also passes some new laws to create separate homelands known as Bantustans for major black groups within the country.   The government carries this out in order to keep blacks from being South African citizens.

21 March, 1960

60 people are killed in Sharpeville massacre. Apartheid requires blacks to carry passbooks that contain personal information like date of birth, photos and name. Protestors show up at Sharpeville police station without passbooks and a riot ensues with the police killing sixty nine people.

5, August 1962

Mandela, the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, part of African National Congress gets arrested for treason. He is charged with bombing government targets and sentenced to life imprisonment.

11 November 1962

Rhodesia gains independence illegally from Great Britain. Prime Minister Ian Smith announced Rhodesia has broken from Britain and whites will be in control of the government. Great Britain as prepared to grant independence if blacks would be given some of the power in government.

 November 1974

SA gets expelled from UN and it is not allowed back till apartheid comes to an end.

16 June, 1976

Over 600 high school students are killed in Soweto Massacre. This is because they were protesting to get better education for the blacks. The protest is broken by police with bullets and tear gas.

12, September 1977

Steve Biiko, one of the Soweto protest organizers is arrested and dies on 12th while in police custody. The cause of death is brain injury likely from beatings by the police.

11, February 1990

Nelson Mandela is freed after twenty seven years in prison and thanks President de Klerk for assisting in setting him free though he says much needs to be done to put apartheid to an end.

10 May, 1994

The first election that allows blacks and whites alike to vote is carried out and Mandela gets elected as president making him the first black president in the South African history.

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