To understand why Robben Island became an apartheid prison and what the prisoners
struggled against during the last 30 years, it is important to know something about apartheid.
It began in 1948 when the National Party first came to power.
There was racial discrimination and seperation before that time but from
that year onwards the government passed laws to enforce apartheid.
It became the system which ruled every aspect of life in Southern Africa.
Black and white people were kept apart, it kept white people in power
and black people without the right to choose the government.
Under the Apartheid system, the people of South Africa were segregated according to skin
The Nationalist government (a leading political organisation NP came to power mid 1900's)
distinguished between four different groups- Africans, coloureds, Indians
and whites- and treated these groups differently. This is why the system was a racist, discrimatory
one, it was unfair because it applied different laws for each race group. Black people were
separated in many ways from
society, not being allowed to vote, study, or being allowed the freedom to express themselves
in thought or speech. Most of all in the ways which their ancestors taught.
Different laws applied to each group and was unequal and unjust in its specifications.
White Anglo Saxon leaders made the rules, owned about 90% of the land and were the only
citizens-allowed to vote. The Group Areas Act forced people to live in seperate areas according to
race. The pass laws prevented so-called 'non-whites' from moving around freely, going out at night
or working were they chose. It was against the law for blacks and whites to marry or have sex with
each other. Black people could not own houses or property except in very limited areas and were often treated
badly and insulted. The government spent six times more on a white childs education than
on a black childs who didint even have to attend school.Very few black people had elecricity,
water or proper sanitation in their homes.
Peace to those who have recovered from these life experience,
As my great Aunty once said,
"that what does not kill you
can only make you stronger"
Remembrance to STEPHEN BIKO who is heard by all.