Apartheid and Race Relations in South Africa: Background information when reading Thirteen Hours

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Thirteen Hours

A Novel

By Deon Meyer

Thirteen Hours
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2010,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2011,
    560 pages.

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Beyond the Book:
Apartheid and Race Relations in South Africa

Apartheid ("separateness", pronounced "apar-tate" in Afrikaans, although many English speakers say "apar-tide") was a government-enforced system of racial segregation instituted in South Africa (map) in 1948. Control of the government at that time was held by White Afrikaners, descendants of Dutch colonists who started to arrive in 1652, as well as descendants of British immigrants from the early 19th century onwards.* Under Apartheid, citizens were classified into three race categories:  White, Coloured (people of mixed race), and Black (or Bantu). An additional category of Asian (which included Indians and Pakistanis) was later added.

Although racial segregation was not new in South Africa, between 1948 and 1994 laws were continually passed to take more and more rights away from non-whites (about 90% of the population), and ensure that they received inferior services and education. For example, in 1949, an act of law banned mixed-race marriages. Four years later, ...

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