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A Definition of Grand Apartheid

Apartheid is often loosely divided into two parts: petty and grand apartheid. Petty Apartheid was the most visible side of Apartheid. It was the segregation of facilities based on race. Grand Apartheid refers to the underlying limitations placed on black South Africans’ access to land and political rights.  These were the laws that prevented black South Africans from even living in the same areas as white people.

They also denied black Africans political representation, and, at its most extreme, citizenship in South Africa.

Grand Apartheid hit its peak in the 1960s and 1970s, but most of the important land and political rights laws were passed soon after the institution of Apartheid in 1949. These laws also built on legislation that limited black South Africans’ mobility and access to land dating back as far as 1787.

In 1910, four previously separate colonies united to form the Union of South Africa, and legislation to govern the “native” population soon followed. In 1913, the government passed the Land Act of 1913. This law made it illegal for black South Africans to own or even rent land outside of native reserves, which amounted to just 7-8% of South African land. (In 1936, that percentage was technically increased to 13.5%, but not all of that land was ever actually turned into reserves.)  

After 1949, the government began moving to make these reserves the homelands of black South Africans. In 1951 the Bantu Authorities Act gave increased authority to tribal leaders in these reserves. There were 10 homesteads in South African and another 10 in what is today Namibia (then governed by South Africa).

In 1959, the Bantu Self-Government Act made it possible for these homesteads to be self-governing but under the power of South Africa. In 1970, the Black Homelands Citizenship Act declared that black South Africans were citizens of their respective reserves and not citizens of South Africa, even those who had never lived in their homesteads.

At the same time, the government moved to strip the few

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