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This is the first episode of The Chobham Podcast. Listen to Deputy Head Boy Danial Minganu and fellow Sixth Former Elijah Williams interview a member of our staff community about his experiences of growing up under the Apartheid Regime in South Africa. Just a bit of background for our younger listeners. Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s. In Afrikanns, Apartheid literally means “aparthood”; that is segregation, separation, living apart. It was characterised by a political system based on white supremacy which ensured that South Africa was dominated politically, socially and economically by the nation’s minority white population. The sorts of things you would have seen under this regime was the banning of interracial relationships and marriages, you would have seen black South Africans forcibly removed from their homes and land and forced into segregated, black only neighbourhoods, you would have seen the whole population of South Africa being classified into three groups, African, White, and Coloured, with the freedom to access work, land ownership, education granted or curtailed by your ethnic classification.

The Apartheid regime ended due to a range of factors. There was the internal resistance from organisations such as the African National Congress (ANC) which launched a Programme of Action including strikes, boycotts and civil disobedience which led to often violent clashes with the authorities, and which escalated into the formation of an armed military wing of the ANC. There was scrutiny and criticism from the Commonwealth and the United Nations, although it wasn’t until the late 1980s that trade sanctions were imposed on South Africa by the United States, the United Kingdom and 23 other nations in order to put pressure on South Africa to end Apartheid. There was also pressure from within Africa through bodies such as the Organisation of African Unity whose primary objectives were to eradicate colonialism from the continent of Africa and to allow its nation states to become self-determining. These factors and many others led to the dismantling of Apartheid, culminating in the country’s 1994 general election, the first in South Africa held with universal suffrage, meaning that all adult citizens, regardless of wealth, income, gender, social status, race, ethnicity had the right to vote. It was in this election that the ANC won 63% of the vote and Nelson Mandela was elected as the first black President of South Africa.

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