1991: the end of apartheid: South Africa's race laws were abolished after a long, sometimes violent struggle.

Author:Wines, Michael
Position:TIMES PAST
 
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BACKGROUND

Beginning with their arrival in the Late 1600s, white Europeans relegated the indigenous people of South Africa and other nonwhites to a subclass with fewer rights. Apartheid Laws, passed in 1750, led to a backlash by blacks and protests around the world. After a tong struggle, apartheid ended in 1991.

DEBATE TOPIC

* Have students take sides on the U.S. response to apartheid.

* What are the pros and cons of economic boycotts of countries that curtail the human and civil rights of their citizens?

* (Supporters say economic boycotts force governments to change. Opponents say boycotts hurt people at the Low end of the economic Ladder the most.)

WRITING PROMPT

* Tell students to assume that they were one of the young black South Africans who took part in the anti government protests in Soweto in 1976.

* Their job is to write a five-paragraph letter to a friend in which they argue why it's important to oppose apartheid and encourage their friend to loin the protests against the white ruled government.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

* Why do you think the minority white population was able to enforce apartheid for so Long? (Whites controlled the police and military.)

* Why do you think the white government ordered black students to be taught in Afrikaans? (One reason was that whites wanted to weaken black identity.)

When Antoinette Sithole and thousands of other teenagers gathered on the streets of Soweto, a sprawling black ghetto near Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 16, 1976, they had no idea they would change history.

They only knew they were angry: The government had ordered schools to teach all major courses not in English, but in Afrikaans, the Dutch-based mother tongue of the white rulers who had oppressed them their entire lives. After months of classes they could not understand, more than 10,000 of them staged a protest march.

Not an hour into the protest, the police opened fire on the unarmed crowd, killing at least 23. Students fled in panic, leaving fallen friends behind.

Almost instantly, South Africa erupted in rioting. What came to be known as the Soweto uprising claimed nearly 600 lives over the next few months, including Antoinette's 12-year-old brother, Hector Pieterson. (The photo on this page of Hector's body being carried to a car, with Antoinette wailing alongside him, became a symbol of black South Africans' resistance to apartheid.)

Today, many believe that the bullets fired during the uprising delivered a mortal wound...

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