How Did Apartheid Impact World History?

Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. It was an extreme form of racism and discrimination that had a profound impact on world history, particularly the African continent. In this article, we will explore how apartheid impacted world history.

The Origins of Apartheid

Apartheid was born out of the desire of white South Africans to maintain their economic and political dominance over the black majority. The National Party, which came to power in 1948, implemented strict laws that enforced racial segregation in all aspects of life.

Blacks were stripped of their citizenship and forced to live in designated areas known as “homelands.” They were denied access to education, healthcare, and other basic services.

The Global Response

The international community responded strongly to apartheid. Many countries around the world imposed economic sanctions on South Africa.

Organizations such as the United Nations also took action by condemning apartheid and calling for its end. In addition, there were numerous protests and demonstrations in various parts of the world against apartheid.

The End of Apartheid

Despite fierce resistance from the white minority government, apartheid eventually came to an end in 1994. This was largely due to the efforts of Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists who fought tirelessly for justice and equality. Mandela became South Africa’s first black president following his release from prison after 27 years.

The Legacy of Apartheid

The legacy of apartheid is still felt today in South Africa and around the world. The country is still grappling with issues such as inequality, poverty, and racism that are rooted in its apartheid past. However, there have been significant strides made towards reconciliation and healing since the end of apartheid.


In conclusion, apartheid was a dark chapter in world history that had far-reaching consequences. It was a system of oppression and discrimination that caused immense suffering for millions of people.

However, the end of apartheid also showed the power of collective action and the ability of individuals to effect change. We must continue to learn from this history and work towards a more just and equal world for all.