www.capetown.at Roddy Bray's Guide to Cape Town  
Click for Home Page
Click for Cape Town City Guide

Click for Heritage
SA Flag - Click for MP3 downloads
Audio Guides
Click for Directory of Cape Town Weblinks
Penguin at Boulders - click for Photos
Click for Storyletters

(page 2)
Petty Apartheid
The battery of race laws introduced in the early 1950s, and extended in following years, affected every aspect of life for South Africans.

It provided whites with access to the most privileged suburbs, education, jobs and positions, even to the extent of exclusive access to beaches, theatres, parks and public toilets. Blacks, conversely, were excluded from these by law, ruthlessly enforced by the police. Coloureds and Indians enjoyed more privileges than blacks, but all 'non-whites' were disadvantaged and disenfranchised politically.

Discrimination occurred at two levels, there was Grand Apartheid, which established separate homelands and areas, and 'Petty Apartheid' which segregated everyday places. The Separate Amenities Act of 1953, included a clause stating that separate facilities no longer had to be 'substantially equal', so allowing the government to provide better facilities to whites.

Every amenity imaginable was subject to racial categorisation, from taxis and ambulances, parks, maternity wards and graveyards to walkways over roads and parking spaces in drive-in cinemas. Beaches were strictly segregated with those offering more facilities, bathing and interest (such as Boulders Beach) designated 'White only'. Africans were only permitted on Mnandi Beach, and although coloureds were allocated more coastal areas these were unattractive and lacking in facilities.

In the mid-fifties, the government attempted to further restrict racially mixed gatherings by amending the Group Areas Act to prevent anyone going to a restaurant, a concert or the cinema in an area not zoned for their racial group. With the threat of large fines, only a few groups, such as the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) and the Liberal Party, dared continue mixed social gatherings.

The Native Laws Amendment Act (1957) prohibited Africans from going to church services in white areas. However, despite the lack of protest by the Dutch Reformed Church, the law was not enforced and some churches became the rare public places where cross-racial gatherings persisted.

Somewhat ironically, the only other places where this occurred were in nightclubs such as the Catacombs and Navigators' Den, famous for drug-dealing and prostitution.

Higher education in Cape Town was affected by apartheid laws in the late fifties that designated the University of the Western Cape as 'coloured' and permitted UCT to admit African students only if the course they applied for was not taught at a 'bush' campus.

Go to the next page >>>>>>

© www.capetown.at 2008. You may print this article for personal use; if for reproduction please acknowledge 'www.www.capetown.at.co.za'. You may not use this material for any electronic media except with written permission. www.capetown.at accepts no responsibility for inaccuracies or the work of service providers.


Heritage Sections
· Culture ·
· Environment ·
History · Society
Personalities · Areas

In this period of Cape History:



Petty Apartheid



The Silent Years

Influx Controls

1976 Uprising

Post '76 Reform


Turning Tide

Mass Action

Bibliography & Contacts


Return to top