Raikes, student politics, and the coming of apartheid

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Date
1994-02-28
Authors
Murray, Bruce
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Abstract
In May 1948, in perhaps the greatest upset in South African electoral history, Dr D.F. Malan's National Party and its allies defeated Smuts' United Party in the first general election since the war. For only the second time in the history of the Union had the governing party been defeated at the polls; for the first time since Union was a purely Afrikaner government formed. The Nationalist campaign had been waged on a platform of apartheid, involving the fuller separation of the races, and once in office the Nationalists proceeded to enact a series of measures designed to promote both greater segregation and greater repression. These included the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949, and in 1950 the Population Registration Act, the Group Areas Act, and the Suppression of Communism Act. In the field of education, their first major measure was the Bantu Education Act of 1953, which set up an entirely separate schooling system for Africans under the control of Dr Verwoerd’s Department of Native Affairs. They dealt next with tertiary education in the Extension of University Education Act of 1959, which established university colleges for 'Non-European' students and prohibited the ‘white’ universities from registering black students, except with ministerial permission. With hindsight, Nationalist legislation in the 1950s appeared to unfold with a logical inevitability in accordance with a comprehensively worked out long-term strategy for the construction of an apartheid state. Recent research, however, has emphasized the elements of fluidity in Nationalist policy-making, and higher education was evidently an area in which the Nationalists initially lacked a fixed design to direct them. Nationalist policy on the universities ran into a series of culs de sac before the route that led to the Extension of University Education Act was clearly mapped out. What was certain from the outset was that the Nationalists strongly objected to the two 'open universities', and the 'social intermingling' they allowed. For the 1948 elections, the Nationalist manifesto included universities in their projected apartheid policy for the country, albeit in rather vague terms. The recommendation of the Sauer Commission, the party's special commission into the 'colour question', was that where necessary provision should be made for higher education for Africans in their own areas. Once in office the Nationalists proceeded to harass the 'open universities', with the Prime Minister leading the way.
Description
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented 28 February 1994
Keywords
Segregation in higher education. South Africa. History , Students. Political activity. South Africa , Apartheid. South Africa. History , South Africa. Politics and government, 1948-1961
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