The apartheid era in South Africa existed for 46 years, between 1948 and 1994. However, its historical reach can be traced considerably further back into the country's history and forward into present lived experiences. Apartheid (literally: 'state of being apart' in Afrikaans) was perhaps most clearly defined in the 1985 United Nations International Convention Against Apartheid in Sport as, ''a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over another racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.'' Essentially, the policy sought to shape the country's spatial, economic, and political life to enable 'separate development' of the four racial groups into which each resident of the country was categorized: white, Coloured, Indian, and black African (labeled 'Bantu', 'Native', and 'black' during apartheid). Inherent in the system was a racial hierarchy, reinforced through all spheres of state activity and at all spatial scales. In the post apartheid era there are ongoing efforts to overcome the spatial, economic, social, and political legacy of apartheid. There are claims of other 'apartheids' throughout the world (e.g., Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Brazil, the USA), drawing on similar legacies of segregation and dispossession, although without the institutional legality of South Africa's apartheid. This article examines the origins and nature of apartheid, factors leading to the end of apartheid, transformation within the post apartheid era, and provides a discussion of these other 'apartheids'.

From Segregation to Apartheid

The Nature of Apartheid

Towards Ending Apartheid


Other Apartheids